This article from the New York Times discusses what is being used indicators, and reflects back on the 70s, but the underwear part is probably very true, just look at healthcare if you want an indicator that’s glaring you in the face, makes underwear seem very unimportant by comparison. At any rate the numbers on underwear are projected to decline this year too, so again, what does that say for healthcare too? Doctors in the examining room will have the bird’s eye view on the underwear polls for sure.
The point is at least people are looking and seeing what is happening, no matter what the Feds try to tell us, we are not missing the big white elephant in the living room, nor the clean up that goes along with having it there. Colbert does a pretty good job nailing it was well. BD
You can seek your answers from Wall Street, government statistics or the latest predictions from hoary old economists. But why not examine your underwear, stand in line at the movies, or peer into your neighbor’s vegetable garden?
You can see unmowed lawns as signposts of foreclosure. You can look at how beer sales are doing (not too well — the latest numbers show beer and liquor store sales are down 2.5 percent from last year). Children’s clothes, pawn shops and hamburgers can all become ways of trying to parse the economy.
Have you bought new underwear lately?
In the 1970s, when Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve was still running his own economic consulting firm, he said that he looked at sales of men’s underwear as an economic indicator. Sales rose steadily in normal times, the theory went, but tended to dip when men had less money, or were trying to cut back on their spending.
The research firm Mintel projects that men’s underwear sales will fall 2.3 percent this year as men stretch out the lifespan of their boxers or briefs.
Still, many economists warn that it’s difficult to extrapolate from these blades of grass. After all, if you look hard enough for economic trends, you can find them anywhere. Which could be an economic signal in itself.
“The fact that people are paying attention to the economy and looking at indicators — this wouldn’t have been done in the ’30s,” said Daniel S. Hamermesh, a professor of economics at the University of Texas. “In a sense, this is a sign of a very aware populace.”