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Economic Outlook - 11/21/14

One of the most remarkable aspects of economic life is that people still feel pretty grumpy about the economy.  Though consumer confidence has been rising in recent months, there is a perceptible lack of excitement about U.S. economic performance despite ongoing job growth and unemployment now below 6 percent. 

The nation has added more than 200,000 during each of the last 9 months, the first time that’s happened since the mid-1990s.  The Dow Jones and other exchanges have routinely hit record highs this year.  But one key ingredient is still missing – rapidly rising incomes.  In fact, on an inflation adjusted bases, median income last year was still $2,100 lower than when President Obama took office in 2009 and $3,600 lower than when President George W. Bush was inaugurated in 2001. 

According to writer David Leonhardt, we are living through the great wage slowdown of the 21st century.  There is actually some agreement between the two major political parties regarding what could be done to improve the situation, including more investment in infrastructure, a less burdensome tax cost, a less wasteful healthcare system and above al,l better educational outcomes.

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.