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.
Global water scarcity: H2O no!
Can just 1% of annual global GDP solve the freshwater crisis? We discuss the challenges and potential solutions.
Utility bills: cooler spell in 2023 but heating up longer term
Utility payments have risen nearly 20% since 2018, weighing especially on lower-income consumers and those living in the South.
Explore trends shaping local and global economies.
Rising childcare costs starting to bite
Childcare payments have risen over 30% since 2019, pressuring families to spend less and draw on savings more across all incomes.
Consumer Checkpoint: Not falling in the Fall
Consumer spending in September remains supported by a resilient labor market, but slowing wage growth and rising childcare payments pose risks. Learn more here.
Will silver spenders continue to outpace the young?
The gap in spending growth between the older and younger generations may narrow, but is unlikely to completely disappear.
Small Business Checkpoint: Small business job growth catching up
Small business hiring is catching up to overall job growth, although higher interest rates and quality of labor remain concerns.
Gig work back in favor as wages slide
Moderating wage growth has led to a small uptick in gig work, particularly driven by ridesharing and younger generations.
Northeast: Present imperfect, but a ‘fab’ future?
Though the Northeast is facing population loss, it also sees strong consumer spending and future manufacturing growth.
Student Loans: FAQs
We answer six frequently asked questions around student loans and the possible impact from the resumption of repayments.
Consumer Checkpoint: Not such a cruel summer
While card balances and student loan payments begin to heat up, consumer spending remains stable and deposit balances elevated.
Unpacking summer travel
Consumer travel demand was resilient this summer, but data suggests we’ve moved from “exuberance” to “normalization.”
Small Business Checkpoint: Business formation boom
New business formation is booming and is notably strong in the healthcare sector, which is seeing spending and profit growth.
Central business districts: City strugglers
We revisit spending in city centers and find that while northern cities continue to struggle, spending in southern cities is up.
Are rising insurance payments crimping consumers?
With median insurance payments rising an average of 5.7% since 2020, how are growing home and auto premiums impacting consumers?
Do deposit buffers still matter?
Consumer perceptions of their finances have deteriorated, yet deposit levels remain elevated and spending continues. Why?
Consumer Checkpoint: In the pink
Consumer spending had a summer bounce in July, with lower- and middle-income households looking particularly resilient.
Small Business Checkpoint: Construction boom?
Small business payments grew in July led by construction spending as demand for building in the manufacturing sector ramps up.
On the move: which cities have the biggest housing shortage?
Which U.S. cities are facing long term housing shortages? Our latest migration flow analysis explains.
Consumer Checkpoint: Renters feel the squeeze
Overall consumer spending remains stable, but higher housing costs are impacting spending by renters more than homeowners.
Small Business Checkpoint: A deeper look at payroll spending
As small businesses face increasingly tight profit margins, payroll spending growth is beginning to slow.
Sector Morsel: A new look at retail inventory
Brick-and-mortar retail: Weaker foundations
The pandemic-era rise in online retail spending has continued, posing real challenges for brick-and-mortar stores.
Consumer Checkpoint: The young and the restless
While consumer spending has stabilized, rising housing costs and pending student loan payments are pressuring younger consumers.
Small Business Checkpoint: Loan inflows remain stable
Despite tightening credit conditions, loan financing for small businesses has not shown a meaningful decline.
Housing Morsel: The Great Migration continues
Our near real-time estimates of migration flows suggest a continuation of pandemic-era moving trends.
What lies beneath: 4 key findings on the labor market
We highlight some areas of weakness beneath the surface of a buoyant labor market.
Consumer Checkpoint: Higher-income pullback
While the overall labor market remains buoyant, higher-income households are seeing some pockets of weakness.
Regional Morsel: Not yet High Noon for the West
Our analysis suggests the western U.S. is not in recession, with consumer spending strengthening this year relative to the broader U.S.
Small Business Checkpoint: Less optimistic, slower spending
Though small business payments levels remain strong, small businesses are pulling back on spending and slowing hiring.
Travel recovery: Bumps along the way
Residual pent-up demand for cruises and international trips is helping drive ongoing travel spending.
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.
Understanding the impact of environmental and social initiatives.
Food (in)security: Hungry for change
With food security falling and global temperatures rising, food systems must adapt to feed more people and be more sustainable.
Feeding the future: How climate and agriculture intersect
Agriculture technology plays a pivotal role in providing sustainable solutions to issues facing the agriculture sector.
IRA ripple effect: 10 areas of impact
As the first anniversary of the IRA approaches, we break down the bill and discuss 10 places where its impact is most evident.
EVs: When electric dreams become reality
U.S. Electric Vehicle adoption is accelerating and broadening out from the West, with the South and Midwest showing strong growth.
Sustainable fashion: Secondhand chic
10% of global emissions are from the fashion industry. Sustainable fashion is making important contributions to reduce its impact.
The path to a clean energy future
Our 10 key findings around the private sector’s role in transitioning to a low-carbon future.
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?
Discover strategies redefining the dynamics of business.
Charitable giving by affluent households
Following a surge in 2020, a smaller share of affluent households gave to charities last year, but volunteering has rebounded.
The AI evolution: Reality justifies the hype
As AI sparks efficiency, BofA Global Research says it will have positive financial impact on 75% of companies in the next 5 years.
The transforming workplace
As employees’ feelings of financial wellness hit an all-time low, employers must evolve and meet the needs of today’s workforce.
HSAs through a gender lens
Financial activity in Health Savings Accounts varies by gender, with women behind men in participation, balances and investments.
Beyond Crypto: Tokenization
The tokenization of traditional assets may reshape infrastructures and public and private markets over the next 5 to 15 years.
When seeing is no longer believing: The dangers of deepfakes
As the threats from deepfakes escalate, there are proactive steps organizations can take to protect their businesses.
A path to better workplace mental health
How has the workplace mental health landscape evolved and what are employers’ options moving forward?
Disruptive Dozen: Top 12 emerging healthcare technologies
From obesity drugs to an Alzheimer’s blood test, 12 emerging technologies with the greatest potential to transform healthcare.
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?
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.
Web3: Only the first inning
The developing crypto-native ecosystem is accelerating the way in which digital assets are disrupting traditional industries