The Morning Economic Report

Monday-Friday at 7:33 am

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants.  Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate. Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes.  Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.

He is the author of numerous regional publications including the Mid-Atlantic Economic Quarterly and Outlook Maryland. Anirban completed his graduate work in mathematical economics at the University of Maryland.  He earned a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University in 1992.  His Bachelors in Foreign Service is from Georgetown University and was earned in 1990.

According to a new survey from recruiting and employment firm Kelly Services, fully 31 percent of American workers consider themselves to be free agents.  These workers identify themselves as independent contractors, freelancers, small business owners, temps or even moonlighters.  What they don’t identify themselves as are traditional employees, meaning people who received their sole source of income from just one employer. 

Businesses in trucking, construction, healthcare and in other segments have been complaining about expanding skills shortages.  Workers with the right sets of experience are difficult to find, industry leaders claim, driving up costs and inefficiency.  With the nation’s unemployment rate now down to five point one percent, incomes should be climbing faster. 

One of the reasons we hope that the economy will be in good shape is that incomes tend to rise during periods of expansion.  But despite ongoing gains in hiring, an unemployment rate that has dipped to five point one percent nationally and other indications of improvement, take home pay for many workers has declined in real terms since the economic recovery began in two thousand and nine -- this according to the National Employment Law Project. 

Canada is in recession.  The Canadian economy shrank for a second consecutive time during the second quarter according to Statistics Canada, putting America’s largest trading partner in recession for the first time since the two thousand eight/two thousand nine period when the meltdown in the U.S. housing market triggered a global credit crisis. 

The sharing economy has come to agriculture.  As reported by Bloomberg, America’s farmers collectively own nearly two hundred and fifty billion worth of equipment.  Much of the year, this machinery sits idly in barns, waiting for the next season.  FarmLink, based in Kansas City, Missouri, is trying to change that. 

A four-year drought has gripped California.  The drought has altered life in the Golden State by forcing severe cutbacks in water for farms, homeowners and businesses.  At the same time, California’s red hot technology industries and rapid population growth are increasing demand for all types of resources, including water. 

GDP vs. GDI - 9/9/15

Sep 9, 2015

Much attention has been given to the large upward revision to second quarter U.S. gross domestic product expansion, now estimated at three point seven percent on an annualized basis.  But as indicated by writer Eric Morath, an alternative measure of economic output that is also monitored by the Commerce Department, gross domestic income, advanced at a much slower pace during the second quarter. 

There was a time when the U.S. was considered one of the world’s growth laggards.  A new set of countries had taken center stage in terms of driving the global economy forward.  Often referred to a BRIC nations, Brazil, Russia, India and China were supposed to take the world’s economy to new heights.  How things have changed. 

There is a pretty good chance that you will be stuck in traffic at some point today.  Part of that is due to the nature of today’s holiday, but an improving economy plays a part, too.  America’s roads are more clogged than ever thanks to more jobs and cheaper gasoline. 

Only one state has lost jobs over the past year – Maryland’s neighbor to the West – West Virginia.  According to data recently released by the Labor Department, West Virginia was alone in terms of having lost a statistically significant number of jobs between July of twenty fourteen and July of twenty fifteen.