The Morning Economic Report | WYPR

The Morning Economic Report

Monday-Friday at 8:43 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.

Higher Oil Prices

May 22, 2017
Ryan Lackey/flickr

Though oil prices remain low by longer-term historical standards, they are considerably higher than they were in early 2016. Those higher prices have unleashed a surge in investment among U.S. shale producers, which are collecting boosting their drilling budgets ten times faster than the balance of the world. 


The Job Churn

May 19, 2017
Kathryn Decker/flickr

There is nothing economists like more than challenging conventional wisdom. As an example, there is a widely accepted narrative indicating that the U.S. labor market is presently experiencing an unprecedented rate of technology driven disruption. This is made apparent by, for instance, the growth in online retail sales and the loss of jobs at brick and mortar retailers.  Or by the expansion of Uber and the pressure this places on cab companies.  


One of reasons that the U.S. economy grew rapidly for much of the 20th century was the large-scale entry of women into the workforce. Female participation in the workforce expanded only gradually for much of the century, but then expanded rapidly from the early 1970s through the early 1990s.

Anirban has more. 


AP/Mark Lennihan

According to available estimates, the U.S. economy expanded just 0.7  percent on an annualized basis during the first three months of 2017. Despite that, many economists describe economic conditions as improving. They probably are.

Anirban has more. 


futureatlas/flickr

While it is true that home values are rising in many neighborhoods in the context of low inventory and more prospective buyers, in many communities, the housing market has still not fully recovered from the financial crisis – this according to a new study from Trulia.  

Listen for more. 


College Enrollment

May 15, 2017
John Loo/flickr

While there has been a considerable amount of discussion in recent years about whether college students are forced to take on too much debt, high school graduates continue to head to college in large numbers. 

Anirban has more on this story. 


Entrepreneurship

May 12, 2017
Glenn Carstens-Peters/Unsplash

This might feel like a remarkable period for entrepreneurship in America, with companies like Twitter and Snap making their impact felt both in our lives and on financial markets. But beneath the headlines made by the latest Silicon Valley darlings is evidence that new companies aren’t the economic engine that they were in decades past.

Listen for more on this story.


Inflation

May 10, 2017
frankieleon/flickr

Inflationary pressures have been building globally. For instance, as indicated by writer Neil Irwin, in the Eurozone, inflation reached two percent during the year ended this February for the first time since 2013. In America, a key measure of inflation that is favored by the Federal Reserve crossed the two percent threshold for the first time in five years.

Anirban has more. 


Sellers Wield Power

May 10, 2017
futureatlas/flickr

You remember that a few years ago the housing market could be easily characterized as a buyers.  During and after the recession, there was a flood of foreclosures and a dearth of people qualifying for mortgages looking to purchase a dwelling.  The result was a collapse in prices.  

Anirban has more on this story. 


Ricardo/flickr

Despite the ability of communications technology to better connect us to the balance of the world irrespective of where we are, cities are becoming more important, not less so. This is particularly true for cities in emerging nations. While wealthier nations of the world were urbanized decades ago, the proportion of urban dwellers in emerging markets is in the range of fifty percent today.  

Anirban has more on this story. 


Glenn Carstens-Peters/Unsplash

According to the economics research team at Glassdoor, male and female college graduates who hold the same bachelor’s degree will frequently self-sort into different occupational categories due to societal pressure and norms.  As reported by CNBC, male graduates will tend to gravitate toward higher earning jobs whereas women will gravitate toward lower earning positions.

More on this subject, Anirban Basu.

Erich Ferdinand/flickr

Elections in the U.S. and in Europe have brought to light just how differently people view the effects of immigration.  Among many groups, immigration has fallen out of favor. But an analysis of United Nations data by Fitch Ratings indicates that halting immigration would drastically diminish the potential working population of developed economies, leaving these aging societies more dependent on shrinking labor forces and resulting in significant financial stress on pension systems.  

On immigration, Anirban Basu.

Mike Petrucci/Unsplash

Stores are closing at an epic pace in America, this despite the fact that economic performance has improved recently and that we are in the midst of an eighth year of economic recovery. 

As reported by CNNMoney, brokerage firm Credit Suisse recently indicated in a research report that it is possible that more than eighty six hundred brick-and-mortar stores will shutter their doors in twenty seventeen.  By comparison, the report says that only about two thousand stores were closed last year.  

With more, Anirban Basu.

frankieleon/flickr

The paychecks of Americans are rising at their fastest rate since the recession ended.  As indicated by writer Eric Morath, median weekly earnings for full-time workers rose 3.9% during the first quarter relative to a year ago according to the Labor Department.  That represents the best gain since late two thousand and eight. 

It took nearly eight years of economic recovery to get to this point, but the nearly four percent growth in weekly pay is roughly the rate reached during the two prior economic expansions.

Join Anirban Basu for more.

Ricardo/Flickr

  Last year, the International Monetary Fund repeatedly downgraded its forecast for the global economic outlook.  After coming into twenty sixteen suggesting that global economic conditions would improve, the Fund eventually downgraded its estimate of twenty-sixteen global economic expansion to three point one percent.  That was the worst year for global growth since the financial crisis ended.  

Listen for more details.

David Goldman/AP

In light of falling unemployment rates, economists have been predicting faster wage growth.  The logic is obvious.  With fewer available jobseekers, expanding employers need to offer more money to fill job openings. 

Moreover, as demand for workers expands, more current employees are likely to be lured to other firms, but only if those other employers offer higher compensation.  All of this serves to expand wages, but rather than accelerating, growth in American wages has been leveling off recently. 

Listen for more.

Joshua Davis/Unsplash

For years, Americans have wondered why the U.S. economy hasn’t been expanding more rapidly.  Since the end of the Great Recession, economic growth has averaged only about two percent per annum and has yet to achieve three percent rate in any given calendar year.  Economists have put forward all kinds of explanations ranging from the dislocating impacts of technology to global trade and the retirement of Baby Boomers.

Join Anirban Basu for more.

Chris Brignola/Unsplash

There has been a lot of focus lately on the airline practice of overbooking.  While many of us are just now becoming aware of the types of issues such practices can raise, overbooking is about as old as the airline industry itself.  

Join Anirban Basu for more.

Phil Roeder/flickr

The divergence of economic opinion along partisan lines has perhaps never been greater.  In other words, one’s beliefs regarding U.S. economic prospects are likely to be shaped heavily by one’s politics. 

In the words of Richard Curtin, who directs the University of Michigan’s monthly survey of consumer sentiment, "the partisan divide has never had as large an impact on consumers’ economic expectations."

Listen for more.

Oscar Ucho/flickr

As reported by writer Josh Zumbrun, an expanding number of economic forecasters have begun to reconsider their bullish outlook for the U.S. economy.  This is in large measure attributable to growing doubts regarding the extent to which the new presidential administration will be able to implement its pro-business agenda.  Following the election last November, respondents to the Wall Street Journal’s monthly survey of forecasters significantly raised their estimates for growth, inflation and interest rates.  

Listen to Anirban Basu for more.

Olu Eletu/Unsplash

Coming into the year, there was a considerable amount of confidence in corporate America.  The notion has been that the new administration in Washington, D.C. would implement an intensely pro-business agenda emphasizing tax reform, stimulus spending and deregulation.  Surveys indicate that businesses remain relatively confident, but other data suggest that confidence in corporate American may be waning.  

Listen for more.

Jon Welsh/flickr

While there are many stakeholders who are upbeat regarding near-term U.S. economic prospects, expected improvement remains speculative. Last year, the U.S. economy expanded just 1.6 percent, though the year’s second half was better. Many economists continue to wonder if average growth of around 2 percent remains the best for which we can hope.  

Listen for more. 


steve p2008/flickr

As a reflection of a reasonably strong economy, Americans are once again flying in large numbers. In fact, U.S. and foreign airlines carried a record number of passengers in 2016 according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. 

Anirban has more.


Jon Tucker/flickr

Despite indications of an improving economy and labor market, recent research indicates that recent college graduates continue to struggle with a lack of wage gains since the recession.  The bachelor’s degree has long been considered the ticket to the American middle class, but has arguably lost some of its mystique recently.  

Anirban has more on this story. 


Mark Goebel/flickr

You may have heard of the so-called North Carolina Bathroom Bill. Many people didn’t like the policy and responded by withdrawing economic activity from that state. The Associated Press estimates that North Carolina’s bathroom bill will cost the state nearly $4 billion in lost business over a dozen years.

Listen for more on this story.

Matt Acevedo/flickr

Perhaps you’ve lived through the following situation – an acquaintance tells you that a common friend, perhaps someone you went to school with or once worked alongside, is now making a lot of money. You ask, well where do they live? They say New York, and you say, well then they’re really not making that much are they?  

Anirban has more. 

Erich Ferdinand/flickr

Men are in decline. That seems like a strange thing to say when one considers that last year, nearly 96 percent of all Fortune 500 CEOs were male. But on the other end of the spectrum, men are dropping out of the labor force in large numbers and falling behind women in terms of both college attendance and graduation rates.

Anirban has more on this story.


Katherine Seery/flickr

A new working paper published by The National Bureau of Economic Research indicates that there are double standards in the nation’s financial advisory industry when it comes to disciplining men versus women. The paper is entitled “When Harry Fired Sally: The Double Standard in Punishing Misconduct."

Anirban has more on this story. 


Kathryn Decker/flickr

There was a time several years ago when the job market was flooded with eager applicants. Many people had lost their jobs, unemployment was elevated, and large numbers of college graduates added to the volume of job seekers. As indicated by Bloomberg, during and after the recession, many employers began requiring college degrees for entry level jobs. That was then, this is now.

Anirban has more.


James Tipton/flickr

Recent data from the Job Opportunities and Labor Turnover Survey or JOLTS indicate that the U.S. labor market continues to strengthen. Though the JOLTS report is a month behind the highly publicized monthly employment report supplied by the Labor Department, it is still followed by economists because of the additional insights it provides. The most recent report indicates that both the rate of hiring and quitting jobs rose in early 2017.  

Anirban has more. 


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