Economic Pulse with Dr. Kamran Afshar

Fridays at 5:44 pm, Mondays at 7:30 am

Dr. Afshar presents a synopsis of the week's economic news with a detailed look at trends in the Lehigh Valley and the nation. Fridays at 5:44 PM during All Things Considered; Mondays at 7:30 AM during Morning Edition.

Lehigh Valley's Housing Market on Economic Pulse

Jul 26, 2014

This week on Economic Pulse, host Dr. Kamran Afshar looks at the June data for the Lehigh Valley housing market. While there is potential price strength for the local housing market, there is also low volume and other indicators that predict a decent, but not great summer.

(Original air-date 7/25/2014)

The Manufacturing Industry's Decline on Economic Pulse

Jul 11, 2014

What happened to manufacturing? Are we producing anything anymore?

Employment in manufacturing has dropped from 18 million in 1972 to 12 million in 2010, however, the fewer manufacturing employees are producing a lot more products than their significantly larger manufacturing employees did in 1970s.

(Original air-date 7/11/2014)

June consumer sentiment index recorded a slight increase over its May’s level. The index has been relatively unchanged in the last 6 months, this is remarkable considering the size of the GDP drop in the 1st quarter. Consumers clearly considered this a one time events.

(Original air-date 7/4/2014)

Nationwide Drop in GDP on Economic Pulse

Jun 27, 2014

The nation’s real Gross Domestic Product or GDP dropped  by a surprisingly large 2.9% during the 1st quarter of 2014, last winter was a lot worse than we thought.

(Original air-date 6/27/2014)

The Lehigh Valley’s employment level has now exceeded its pre-recessionary high. However, not all the jobs lost have been recovered.  Recoveries in the job market are seldom even across the sectors. Usually the new jobs are somewhat or a lot different from the ones lost. The same is true about the Lehigh Valley’s recovery. Many of the jobs lost are not going to come back. The Valley is moving in the direction of services and away form production.

The Unemployment Rate explained on Economic Pulse

Jun 24, 2014

Payroll employment increased by whopping 217,000 in May. Despite that, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.3%. The unemployment rate stayed the same despite the 217,000 new additions to payroll employment because the total number of unemployed increased by 46,000. How did that happen? This is basically a function of the definition of employment. The government’s definition of employed is very broad and appears to have been designed to underestimate the total unemployment.

While inflation over the last 12 months still registers only at a low 2.0%, if we look at the first 4 months of this year the picture changes significantly. The consumer price index, the instrument we use for measuring inflation rose by 1.3% over the last 4 months. This translates into a 5.2% inflation at annual rates. That is if this trend continues for the rest of the year we are going to re-visit inflation for the first time since 2007! (Original air-date 5/16/2014)

Quarterly Economic Review on Economic Pulse

May 10, 2014

On this special hour-long edition of Economic Pulse, Dr. Afshar looks at the financial and economic state of the Lehigh Valley during the first quarter of 2014. His roundtable panel includes Jennifer Mann (President of Mann Consulting), Kevin Flemming (President of Integrity Personnel), and Josh Dodd (Senior Vice President at Univest Bank & Trust). (Original air-date 5/8/2014)

How does the Federal Reserve influence the economy?

Dr. Afshar explores what the Federal Reserve is, how it affects banks and businesses, and the specific tools it uses to influence the economy.  

 Our national debt is now larger than our GDP, how are we going to pay the interest on such a large debt? Asks Dr. Kamran Afshar.

 The National Debt is 101.5% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, not dissimilar to the latter half of the 1940s, when the US economy came out of the Great Depression and WWII had ended. Interest rates were just slightly higher than today’s rates, and the interest payment on the national debt was less than 2% of the GDP, despite the fact that the debt was 21% higher than the GDP of the time.