Economists Blame Motherhood for Ruining Economy

Forget the baby. Get back to work!

Economists blame mothers for ruining the global economy, according to Bloomberg.

“For a while, women around the world were making clear economic progress,” writes Ben Steverman. “More of them were working, and they were earning more (and boosting the global economy in the process).”

“But in the past few decades, that progress has stalled,” he continues. “Women's participation in the U.S. workforce peaked two decades ago. And today, women are making big changes to when, and whether, they have children.”

At Brown University, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen “raised the alarm” in her speech last week:

"We, as a country, have reaped great benefits from the increasing role that women have played in the economy. But evidence suggests that barriers to women's continued progress remain… a lack of equal opportunity and challenges to combining work and family."

Others around the world, like Deutsche Bank’s Torsten Slok, believe access to child care and more flexible workplaces can help women better contribute to the economy.

However, most women around the world prefer staying home with their children. That’s certainly true here in America.

But Steverman warns that potential growth margins in countries around the world are stunted by women leaving the workforce:

That's growth the world can't spare at a time when other factors, such as aging populations and low productivity increases, are holding economies back.

He cites the lack of paid maternity leave that is unique to the U.S. in comparison to other countries. Women are also waiting later to have children than they did in the past. But one thing has remained consistent: when women do have babies, they spend much fewer hours at a job if they take a job at all.

Harvard Professor Claudia Goldin and U.S. Census researcher Joshua Mitchell have studied the emergence of “a new life cycle of women’s labor force participation.” Women work more in their 20s than they do in their 30s and 40s, Steverman reports. Economists call that the “sagging middle.”

“That time out of the workforce interrupts peak earning years for women, particularly mothers,” Steverman concludes. “[F]or the rest of their careers, perhaps once their kids are older, they must make up for lost time and money. The number of women working well into their 60s and 70s has surged in the U.S., as more of them postpone retirement.”

So, ladies, if you’re thinking about having a child, don’t. The world economy needs you. If you are currently a mother, well, you obviously have plenty of time away from a "real" job where you can think about your mistakes. Besides, the world doesn’t need good kids to grow up and be good adults. After all, it’s money that makes the world go around.


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