Delaware Public Media

Anirban Basu

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 and is routinely asked to contribute to local media, including on his radio show on WTMD, 89.7 FM/Baltimore and here on WYPR's Morning Economic Forecast.  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.  He is currently working toward his J.D. at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

One of our contemporary conventional wisdoms is that healthcare spending is surging because of our expanding life spans. As indicated by writer Austin Frakt, the average American lives three years longer today – reaching nearly 79-years-old, than in 1995. The median age in the U.S. is set to rise to about 40 by 2040, up from less than 38 years today.

There has been a lot of discussion regarding America’s sagging labor force participation rate. The participation rate, which reflects the proportion of adults who are working or looking for work, stands only a few tenths of a percentage point above a multi-decade low. Men have been at the center of much of the discussion, including those living in rural areas or in Rust Belt cities. Male labor force participation has been declining for some time, but the economic impact was less apparent when women were entering the labor force in large numbers.

Millennial Savers

Feb 3, 2017

A lot of us like to complain about Millennials, those young adults who are increasingly coming to dominate the labor market. Employers frequently complain about their elevated need for flexible time, their intense desire to work from home, and their questionable social skills and emotional intelligence. But the fact of the matter is that Millennials represent an enormously talented bunch and that many of us could learn much for them.

The chief economist at the job site Indeed, Jed Kolko, utilized Census Bureau data to dissect the educational, occupational, and geographical background of immigrants in the U.S. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, Kolko’s analysis indicates that Americans most recent arrivals – those who came to the U.S. over the past five years – have been gravitating to jobs as medical researchers, software developers, physicists and economists.

A little less than two week ago, President Barack Obama spent his final day in the White House. We can now reflect upon his eight years in office, including with respect to the performance of the U.S. economy during those years. One word of caution is in order. Economists generally resist giving American presidents too much credit or blame for economic performance. Many factors influence economic outcomes, and many are not susceptible to the influence of policymakers.

Judging by key headline numbers, the U.S. labor market remains in good shape. Unemployment remains below five percent and there are indications of faster wage growth. However, there are certain key metrics that suggest that the pace at which the job market has been improving is no longer accelerating.

Rising Down Payments

Jan 27, 2017

Saving a down payment for a house is a big deal. According to an analysis by Zillow, a median-priced home in the U.S. now costs more than $192,000, which means that buyers have to come up with more than $38,000 to put 20 percent down. That translates into about two-thirds of the average household income. As indicated by CNN Money, that down payment figure fails to include the added expenditures associated with purchasing a home like inspections, closing costs and moving expenses.

Retirement Savings

Jan 26, 2017

Saving for retirement requires sacrifices. People have to watch their spending now in order to generate the savings that will sustain them in the future. It’s hardly a secret that collectively Americans are still not saving enough. As reported by Bloomberg, the typical Baby Boomer, whose generation as now begun to retire in large numbers, has a median of $147,000 in all of his or her retirement accounts according to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.

According to a new report from Bankrate, nearly six in ten Americans do not have enough savings to cover an unexpected $500 expense. Only 41 percent of adults report having enough in their savings accounts to cover a surprise bill of this magnitude. As reported by CNN Money, a little more than one in five said that they would put the expense on a credit card. Another one in five would have to reduce their spending while 11 percent would turn to friends and family for financial assistance.

Our Expanding Economy

Jan 23, 2017

Despite setbacks from burst real estate bubbles, costly wars, deep recessions and disappearing industries, the U.S. economy has still managed to expand significantly over the past three and a half decades. As indicated by writer Patricia Cohen, the real economy has more than doubled in size over that period. The public sector now uses a substantial share of output to hand over as much as $5 trillion to assist working families, the elderly, disable, and unemployed to finance a home, visit a doctor, or put their children through school.

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