The Morning Economic Report | WYPR

The Morning Economic Report

Monday-Friday at 7:33 am

Anirban Basu, Chairman 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.

Jeremy Sternberg/flickr

Many people focus upon the fact that the official U.S. unemployment rate is below five percent. But that number can be misleading since it doesn’t include discouraged workers – people who would like to be working but gave up looking for a job.

Oscar Ucho/flickr

A new administration is coming to Washington, D.C., but the current one is not quite done. Recently, the White House released its annual Economic Report of the President. This will of course be the last such volume produced by the Obama administration.

We are a diverse society, and that emerged as a major point of emphasis in 2016.  There are many ways to measure how diverse a society is, including the share of people in various minority groups. One of the most interesting ways is by looking at people’s last names. According to newly released Census Bureau data, the top 25 last names accounted for 8.7 percent of U.S. population in 2010, not much changed from 2000.

Andy Nguyen/flickr

There are futurists who have been saying that the U.S. is racing towards a jobless economy – one characterized by cashier free stores, driverless trucks, and financial professionals powered by artificial intelligence. Perhaps, but right now, America is home to many employment opportunities. Last month, the U.S. unemployment rate dipped to four point 6 percent, well below the 5.8 percent average that has been recorded since 1948.

Matthew G/flickr

America still arguably offers more economic opportunity than any place on the planet.  Recently, however, a broad national gauge of conditions that foster equality and social mobility has stopped increasing after five years of steady improvement.


As pointed out by writer Ian Talley, the weak global economy may be producing at least one benefit – it is forcing the adoption of economic reforms in some of the worst places in the world in which to conduct business.  The World Bank ranks 190 economies around the world in terms of their business climate.

Phalinn Ooi/flickr

When people talk about America getting older, they are typically speaking about its population.  But as pointed out by Bloomberg, that’s hardly the only thing in the U.S. that’s aging.  According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average age of all fixed assets, including things like factories and hospitals, stands at twenty three years, the oldest in records tracing back to nineteen twenty five.

The Recession Risk

Dec 23, 2016

Anirban has good news about the odds of a recession occurring in the next year.

Japanese Millenials

Dec 22, 2016

How the frugality of 25 to 34-year-olds in Japan is affecting the country's market.

Chinese Imports

Dec 21, 2016
Robert Scoble/flickr

Anirban Basu discusses the impact of China's manufacturing and export centers on American firms.

Energy Production

Dec 20, 2016
USFWS/Joshua Winchell

Anirban Basu on energy production, which he calls "one of the most dynamic aspects of the U.S. economy."

The Urban Revival

Dec 19, 2016

As indicated by an article written by Adam Bednar of the Daily Record, the impending death of America’s suburbs may have been greatly exaggerated.  For years, urbanists have trumpeted the prospective rebound of the American city after decades of out-migration. 

A wave of populist fervor is washing across much of the advanced world, and at the root of this emerging political dynamic are economic trends.  As indicated by a McKinsey Global Institute Report, with the exception of a brief hiatus during the 1970s, much of the past 70 years has been associated with buoyant global economic and employment growth. 

Global economic growth is expected to pick up faster than previously thought in coming months due to expected tax cuts and public spending in the U.S. – this according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.  In its most recent economic outlook report, the OECD estimates that global growth will accelerate from 2.9 percent this year to 3.3 percent in 2017 and 3.6 in 2018. 

Over time, women have made significant progress in cracking and collapsing various glass ceilings.  One of the final remaining glass ceilings is in the world of investment, including in the U.S. 

As indicated by writer Josh Mitchell, the federal government is on pace to forgive at least $108 billion in student debt in coming years – this as an increasing number of borrowers seek assistance in paying down their loans.  The result will be reduced revenues to finance higher education going forward. 

The Top 400 Club

Dec 12, 2016

It is often said that the rich are getting richer.  New data indicate that the really really rich have become much much wealthier.  According to recently released data from the Internal Revenue Service, total income reported on the top 400 tax returns rose 20 percent in 2014.  

Home to Silicon Valley, the life sciences cluster in San Diego and Hollywood, California has emerged as one of America’s more rapidly expanding economies.  Still, a recent study by CoreLogic finds that for every homebuyer coming into that state, there are three Californians selling their homes and moving elsewhere. 

Earlier this month, you got to sleep in an additional hour.  That hour felt terrific, though you weren’t awake to realize it.  While many people enjoy daylight savings this time of year, and dislike it intensely during the spring, the presumption may be that there is little economic impact. 

Detroit is making a comeback.  As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the unemployment rate in the Detroit metropolitan area sat at five point four percent in September.  Detroit was one of the hardest hit communities during the recession, with a regional unemployment rate that peaked above seventeen percent in mid-two thousand and nine. 

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average fuel economy of twenty fifteen model year vehicles increased by half a gallon to a record high of nearly twenty five miles per gallon.  Mazda had the highest average fuel economy at nearly thirty miles per gallon.  Fiat Chrysler had the lowest, at less than twenty one miles per gallon. 

Average hourly pay in America rose by ten cents an hour last month to an average of twenty five dollars and nine two cents according to the U.S. Labor Department.  That’s two point nine percent higher that it was a year ago, the sharpest twelve month increase since two thousand and nine. 

There are a significant number of people who distrust government economic data.  A Marketplace Edison research poll, for instance, found that roughly a quarter of Americans “completely distrust the economic data reported by the federal government."

It’s Monday and for many of us that means the onset of a new workweek.  One of the goals for each of us is return home safely after each and every working day.  Unfortunately, there are a number of occupations in which that is unusually difficult. 

The Millennials, those young adults among us, are now the largest generation in the country.  Collectively they have annual spending power of six hundred billion dollars and each member spends an estimated eight five dollars per day on average. 

There may be some people who are nervous about our near-term economic future.  While it is true that the economy continues to churn out new employment opportunities, rising home prices, and more output, the recovery is now in its eighth year. 

As pointed out by writer Ian Talley, the weak global economy may be producing at least one benefit – it is forcing the adoption of economic reforms in some of the worst places in the world in which to conduct business.  The World Bank ranks one hundred and ninety economies around the world in terms of their business climate. 

The recent improvement in economic performance has manifested itself in a number of ways, including in the form of faster output and wage growth.  Homeownership represents another emerging bright spot.  

The earnings of African Americans have begun to accelerate sharply in recent months.  According to recently released data from the U.S. Labor Department, median weekly earnings for full-time African American workers rose by nine point eight percent during the third quarter from a year earlier, the fastest rate of growth on records dating back to two thousand. 

It’s Friday, and for some people that means getting a head start on the weekend by pulling that two seat convertible out of the garage.  But those little two seaters aren’t quite as popular as they once were – the reason, we’re getting older.  As reported by Bloomberg, baby boomers are beginning to outgrow their midlife crisis years, and that’s bad news for automakers seeking to sell sports cars.