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.

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.

How Are We Paying The National Debt? On Economic Pulse

Apr 18, 2014

Economic Pulse with Dr. Kamran Afshar is a synopsis of the week’s economic news, with a detailed look at trends in the Lehigh Valley, and important issues to watch in the coming week.  Economic Pulse airs Fridays at 5:44pm and Mondays at 7:35am.  (Original air-date April 18, 2014).

Following the Inflation on WDIY's Economic Pulse

Apr 4, 2014

  Dr. Afshar points out that the overall inflation is close to non-existent in 2014, however, we are starting to see some inflation in food prices. Some categories of meat, like beef roasts registered a 9.1% increase in their price. With the record going to oranges with a whopping 12.2% price increase in the last 12 months.  Tune in on this discussion Friday at 5:44 PM and Monday at 7:35 AM. (Original air-date, April 4, 2014).

Consumer Sentiment Index Rising on WDIY's Economic Pulse

Mar 28, 2014

  Dr. Kamran Afshar argues that consumer sentiment index reflects the level of consumer confidence in their own finances and thus closely relates to consumer expenditures in the near future. Considering that close to three quarters of our economy is composed of consumer expenditures, consumer sentiment is a major indicator of the future direction of the economy. Consumer sentiment index rose slightly in February. The burning question: Is this one of the signs that happy days are about to arrive? Tune in on Fridays at 5:44 PM ad Mondays at 7:35 AM. (Original air-date March 28, 2014).

After the financial crash and the start of the Great Recession, banks significantly cut back in lending money to businesses. They have started to increase their lending since 2010. Dr. Afshar says we are not yet back where we were before the recession but moving in that direction rapidly. (Original air-date March 21, 2014).

 The Bureau of Labor Statistics released employment data showing an increase of 175,000 new payroll jobs in February. But at the same time it also stated that the total number unemployed increased by more than 200,000 and unemployment rate also rose by one-tenth of one percent in February. How does this work? Tune in on Fridays at 5:44 PM and on Mondays at 7:35 AM. (Original air-date March 14, 2014).