Where thought finds leadership
Bank of America Institute is dedicated to uncovering powerful insights that move business and society forward. Drawing on data and resources from across the bank and the world, the Institute delivers important, original perspectives on the economy, sustainability and global transformation.
Consumer Checkpoint: Higher-income pullback
While the overall labor market remains buoyant, higher-income households are seeing some pockets of weakness.
What lies beneath: 4 key findings on the labor market
We highlight some areas of weakness beneath the surface of a buoyant labor market.
Cybersecurity: Landscape, impact and what comes next
As cyberattacks increase, so does the importance of maintaining a robust cybersecurity stack. But what's next on the horizon?
Explore trends shaping local and global economies.
Small Business Checkpoint: Less optimistic, slower spending
Though small business payments levels remain strong, small businesses are pulling back on spending and slowing hiring.
The 101 of 529
Beyond student loans and grants, 529s remain a significant way to pay for education. We discuss five contribution trends.
How are middle-income consumers doing?
While this cohort’s spending lagged the average over the pandemic, there are signs of a catch-up at the start of 2023.
Consumer Checkpoint: No madness in March spending
While spending was no slam dunk due to weaker wage growth and lower tax refunds, consumers continue to have financial buffers.
Has the gig economy peaked?
The recent decline in gig workers is driven by lower demand for deliveries and a rotation into traditional labor markets.
Small Business Checkpoint: Credit crunch?
Despite concerns of tighter lending, small businesses saw little disruption to their operations in March.
Leisure activities: a return to socialization?
Consumers are returning to social leisure activities post-pandemic, but will inflation threaten their good time?
Regional Morsel: Midwestern Stars
While not a beneficiary of domestic migration like the South, Midwestern cities stand out for consumer goods spending growth.
Consumer Checkpoint: Shifting gears, but still going forward
Consumer spending growth decelerated in February, but continues to be supported by positive fundamentals.
Housing Morsel: What is driving the Sun Belt boom?
Exploring city-level housing data to uncover the factors driving an increase in rent and mortgage payments across the Southern US.
Small Business Checkpoint
Higher operational costs are squeezing small business profits, though resilient consumer spending provides some relief.
Is COLA behind the pop in older generation spending?
Seniors are spending at a faster pace, supported by the historic increase in social security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).
Understanding the missing millions
Who are the more than 2 million workers who haven’t returned to the labor force and what has happened to them?
Consumer Checkpoint: Springing into January
Consumer spending strengthened in January supported by stronger labor income, but the less affluent still face more challenges.
A timelier look at hiring demand
Despite slowing revenues, payments to small business hiring firms remain robust.
Autos: Putting the pedal-to-the-metal?
While auto sales struggled in 2022 amidst supply snarls, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
Central business districts continue to face challenges
Consumer spending in cities appears to have lagged the overall U.S., with remote work and population loss driving the shift.
Consumer Checkpoint: New year, new challenges
After a solid year, the consumer may feel the weight of 2023, but for now they are heading to the gym in OK financial shape.
Small Business Checkpoint
Small business hiring continues to moderate, though payroll payments remained more resilient for firms with lower revenues.
Year in review
Let’s get this party started . . . a look back at our top charts of 2022
Small Business Checkpoint
Strong demand for lodging this holiday season prompts payroll and revenue growth for these small businesses.
Consumer Checkpoint: End of year health check
Consumers have proven resilient in 2022. While spending is slowing, they are starting 2023 in good financial shape.
Fewer jobs, tighter belts?
Job losses this year have had a larger impact on consumer savings and discretionary spending than in the prior years.
Manufacturing: near term pressures, but longer term positives
Manufacturing faces cyclical downward pressure in the near term; autos and on-shoring should provide a longer term support.
High food inflation is eating up discretionary spending and causing some consumers to adjust where they shop for groceries.
Pent-up demand for cars may help offset weaker discretionary spending, but the current road into the holidays looks bumpy.
Hitting the buffers?
Savings buffers are still relatively high, though it appears low-income households are beginning to tap into their savings.
Consumer Checkpoint: Home and away
Our data confirms the U.S. housing market is slowing, which may be a drag on discretionary spending, especially for renters.
Bank of America data shows a slowing housing market, with affordability stretched for both owner-occupiers and renters.
Small Business Checkpoint
Small businesses continue to rely on financial buffers despite inflationary pressures.
Consumer Morsel: Catch me abroad
Pent-up demand and a strong US dollar drives increased growth of international spending beyond summer peak.
Consumer Morsel: High energy impact
Bank of America data shows a continued rise in key utility bills, with near-term reprieve unlikely.
Small Business Checkpoint: The return of cautious optimism
Small business travel and strength in payroll payments persist amid signs of cautious optimism.
Consumers are heading into the fall with solid spending and financial buffers. However, utility bills are taking a toll.
The gig economy is up
Bank of America data shows that the on-demand work remains elevated, but it is not yet displacing traditional jobs.
Consumer Morsel: The power of forgiveness
The federal student loan announcement has the potential to benefit a significant number of households. Who sees the most impact?
Are state tax changes bolstering consumers?
In response to budget surpluses, many states have been cutting taxes. Cuts aimed at gas prices appear to be benefitting consumers.
Consumer Morsel: It takes two income groups to tango
While discretionary spending slows for high-income consumers, the story differs across expense categories.
Housing Morsel: Who is impacted the most by surging rents?
As rent prices soar, younger and middle income consumers feeling the most pressure
Small Business Checkpoint: Beating the summer heat
Small business payments continue to grow in July with strong card spending and payroll payments.
Ring the bell for back to school season
Bank of America card data suggests back to school season kicked off on a strong footing despite concerns about consumer spending.
Consumers feel relief from lowering gas prices, but many are feeling squeezed from rising rents.
Housing market: The great slowdown
The U.S. housing market has reached a turning point with both home sales and home-related spending.
I’ll be latte to the office
The pandemic saw a rise in remote work. Coffee store sales suggest this has not completely unwound.
Retail inventories: too much or too little?
Retail inventories are rising across all sectors, but only general merchandise retailers are overstocked.
Paycheck to paycheck
Rising expenses will impact people differently, based on their income & spending. We take a look at who has the thinnest margins.
July 4 holiday spending special: we will always have Paris
The “holiday bump” in spending was smaller this year than in the prior years, but international retail spending remains strong.
Small Business Checkpoint
Small businesses continue to spend, especially on travel and payroll, despite inflationary pressure.
The post summer outlook is unclear as crosswinds impact consumers, but balance sheets are still in good shape.
Tales from the crypto
Following sharp declines in crypto markets, our data shows a declining appetite for crypto.
How do consumer habits change during a recession?
We take a historic look at what discretionary spending households tend to cut during an economic downturn.
The curious case of the missing millions
Over the pandemic millions of people left the labor force. We investigate whether people decided to retire early.
Who is inflation impacting the most?
Middle income consumers are getting hit the hardest by inflation, but real spending on services remains robust.
U.S. consumers traveling abroad again
International travel for U.S. consumers is picking up again, with European countries gaining popularity
Small Business payrolls are growing strongly
Payroll expense per client is up strongly, on the back of increased employment and higher wages.
As we hunt for bearish signs in our data, we are struck by strong momentum in services spending and elevated household deposits
Understanding the impact of environmental and social initiatives.
Biodiversity means business
How important has biodiversity become? We walk through ten key points to better understand its growing impact.
Delivering the energy transition
As the Earth warms, challenges hinder efforts to tackle climate change. We outline obstacles to the energy transition.
DEI in the face of inflation
As mounting inflationary pressures disproportionately impact women, can company benefits help “inflation-proof” their wallets?
Women, work and a woeful recovery
A slower labor market recovery for women-intensive sectors has inhibited progress towards closing the workforce gender gap.
State of the nonprofit sector
After facing significant challenges, where do nonprofits stand and what investments are needed to secure their long-term futures?
CDFIs: Critical capital for small businesses
The mission-driven purpose that defines CDFIs will help them address lingering inequities in the financial markets.
EVs on the charge
Higher income consumers drive Electric Vehicle charging demand amidst changing oil prices and increased government funding.
COP27 Q&A: Executing on Net Zero
The world is a different place from where it was a year ago. We answer 12 questions about Net Zero and what to expect at COP27.
From A to Gen Z
A recent study explores Gen Z’s approach to money – from financial priorities and behaviors to motivations and barriers.
Neurodiversity in the workplace
To win the war for talent, employers must do their part in fostering workplaces that enable neurodivergent employees to thrive.
Discover strategies redefining the dynamics of business.
Exploring wealth in the AAPI community
A recent study uncovers unique motivators, priorities and challenges facing the Asian American Pacific Islander Community.
Physician enablement: Value-based care
As US healthcare spend continues to grow, value-based care could curb the costs and result in better patient outcomes.
Me, myself and AI: What you need to know
As artificial intelligence quickly moves toward mass adoption, we answer 10 questions to help navigate the basics.
Digital machinations: payback time
Digital strategies are driving real-world productivity gains with the potential to reduce manufacturing costs by 25%.
The new space era: Expansion of the space economy
As the space economy continues to grow, a robust and competitive commercial space sector is vital to continued progress.
401(k) through a gender lens
A new study highlights how labor market inequalities can lead women to accumulate less assets over their working life.
Study of wealthy Americans
Shifting perspectives on wealth may have implications for individuals, families, nonprofits, business owners and the economy as a whole.
Workplace benefits: Navigating a new era of financial wellness
Employers continue to embrace and expand programs for their employees in response to increased stress.
Back to the USA: The rising tide of reshoring
How the case for corporate reshoring continues to strengthen.
Web3: Only the first inning
The developing crypto-native ecosystem is accelerating the way in which digital assets are disrupting traditional industries
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