A new report from Bank of America-Merrill Lynch economists Ethan Harris (left) and Neil Dutta suggest that a ‘long on women’ investing approach will benefit companies that cater to women, and that women themselves will not only continue to drive consumer spending, but that they will have more to spend.
The Dec. 20 report finds that women’s earnings will recover quicker than men’s coming out of the economic crisis, partly because the labor market recession affected women less than it did men. “Men and women went into the recession with unemployment rates at roughly the same level,” the report notes, but now “the unemployment rate for women is almost two full percentage points below men.”
Women are experiencing other economic benefits, despite what the report calls the “gender wage gap,” including a higher rate of college graduation—three women graduate from college for every two men and have earned 50% of the bachelor’s degrees awarded over the last decade. When combined with an “ongoing shift away from a manufacturing-based economy to a knowledge-based one,” and that women account for the majority of the labor force in nine of the 10 occupations that the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts will add the most jobs over the next eight years, prospects for women’s continuing economic growth are bright, the report says.
The gender wage gap, the authors report, is also narrowing. Over the past five years, Dutta (left) and Harris write in an economic commentary titled ‘Who Wears the Pants?’, real median income for women “has risen roughly 1% at an annualized rate. For men, it has contracted 1.5% at an annual rate.”
The report admits that women already control the majority of household