Consumer Morsel: Feeling the heat

Rising temperatures increase economic costs, especially for lower-income households and workers in heat-exposed industries.

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Taylor Bowley

April 2024

Key takeaways

  • Higher average temperatures put over half of U.S. counties at risk for increasing energy consumption costs and associated expenses such as utility payments. As of March, the average total utility payments per customer was nearly $300 per Bank of America internal data, a nearly one-quarter rise in cost since 2019.
  • Many households are impacted by climate hazards, but certain households are particularly susceptible to experiencing financial strain. Lower-income customers' average utility payments are 38% higher in March than the 2019 average, and people in the Northeast and West are facing increasing financial pressure.
  • Rising temperatures are also taking a toll on workers, especially those working outdoors in heat-exposed industries. Bank of America internal data finds, during warmer months, heat-exposed sectors have a lower inflow-to-outflow ratio, which we view as a proxy for profits. Long-term, high heat could reduce available jobs in certain sectors, amplifying economic costs.

Read our full analysis for a more in-depth look at these trends.

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