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.

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The Morning Economic Report
9:25 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Ranking the U.S.A. - 4/14/14

It’s pretty easy to make the claim that America is number one.  After all, the U.S. controls the world’s most powerful military and is home to its largest economy.  In the New York Times, columnist Nicholas Kristof recently wrote, "Sure, technically Norwegians may be wealthier per capita and the Japanese may live longer, but the world watches the NBA, melts at Katy Perry, uses iPhones to post on Facebook, trembles at our aircraft carriers and blames the CIA for everything.  We’re number 1." 

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The Morning Economic Report
2:21 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Vacation Homes - 4/11/14

The vacation home is making a comeback.  Thanks in large measure to a surging stock market, Americans with discretionary spending power are increasingly looking for opportunities in the market for second or third homes.  Vacation properties accounted for 13 percent of all sales last year, the highest level since 2006 when the share was 14 percent according to the National Association of Realtors. 

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The Morning Economic Report
5:30 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Consumer Purchases - 4/10/14

Americans have been altering how they buy what they buy, with Internet sales grabbing market share in recent years.  But consumers aren’t just shifting how they make purchases, but also what they’re buying.  For decades, Americans purchases of basics like laundry detergent and toothpaste roughly kept pace with the economy’s overall rate of economic expansion.  

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The Morning Economic Report
8:39 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

GDP - 4/9/14

You probably have never celebrated the existence of the economic measure known as gross domestic product or GDP.  Perhaps you should.  The Bureau of Economic Analysis recently listed GDP as one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century.  According to writer Fred Andrews, GDP was devised during the Great Depression when President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal needed a gauge to determine how well programs were working and the economy was faring. 

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The Morning Economic Report
5:30 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Household Debt Level - 4/8/14

For several years during and after the Great Recession, households sought to reduce their level of debt through a combination of diminished spending and more aggressive repayment.  That period of deleveraging of households balance sheets appears to have come to an end.  According to Moody’s Analytics, households are no longer collectively reducing their debt obligations.  The U.S. household debt service ratio rose to 9.96 percent during the fourth quarter, meaning that household debt payments absorb about 10 percent of disposable income. 

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The Morning Economic Report
12:18 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Personal Income - 4/7/14

Personal income expanded by 0.3 percentage points in both January and February.  When one translates those monthly gains into annualized rates of income growth, the numbers appear impressive – good enough to suggest that growth in consumer spending can continue to power the economic expansion during the quarters ahead. 

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The Morning Economic Report
5:30 am
Fri April 4, 2014

To Buy or to Lease - 4/4/14

To buy or to lease – that is the question that many prospective car purchasers are asking.  As indicated by a recent Wall Street Journal article, conventional wisdom holds that leasing an automobile is generally more favorable than purchasing one if you tend to upgrade to a new car every few years.  Purchasing makes more sense is you want to own for many years.  Leasing also doesn’t work as well for people who drive many miles per year. 

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The Morning Economic Report
10:07 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Globalization - 4/3/14

There are many among us who do not view globalization favorably.  As pointed out by writer Eduardo Porter, globalization is now often perceived as a leading driver of rampant inequality and wage stagnation.  This view is hardly universal despite the fact that in an American context globalization may have contributed to a stalling of middle class incomes and a surge of income growth among the top 1 percent.  If the world were viewed as a single nation, income inequality has in fact declined and middle class incomes have expanded more rapidly than those at the top.  

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The Morning Economic Report
10:10 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Economic Recovery - 4/2/14

The U.S. economy officially emerged from recession in June 2009.  That means that in just three months, America will commence its sixth year of economic recovery.  But a survey conducted last week by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal found that 57 percent of respondents still think that the economy is in recession. 

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The Morning Economic Report
9:53 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Long-Term Unempolyment - 4/1/14

A new paper authored by three Princeton economists, including Alan B. Krueger, the former chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, indicates that long-term unemployment is even more problematic than conventional wisdom suggests.  According to the paper, the long-term unemployed are "an unlucky subset of the unemployed." 

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