Do Women Drive the Economy?


Women are far less positive than men about the outlook for the economy. The latest Viewpoint report from the Commonwealth Bank shows that in January this year 39 percent of men said the economy was strong, compared to just 21 percent of women.

This more pessimistic attitude is likely to be having an impact on retail spending right now, evidenced by the softness of department store revenue. The analysis shows that if women were given a $5,000 gift, half would use the money to reduce personal debt. Michael Blythe, chief economist at the Commonwealth Bank, says men typically dominate spending in the non-retail section of the economy — for example, new cars and foreign holidays — where sales are holding up.

The survey also shows there is a big discrepancy in earnings potential between men and women. For this reason women are far less confident that they will have enough money to retire with — whilst just 35 percent of men said they had enough (still a concern), the figure was only 29 percent for women.

Listen to the interview with Michael Blythe on the player above, and read a copy of the report here.

First published on CBS News

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