Thursday, January 29, 2009

Economic Indicators for Dummies

Economic Indicators

Every day we are barraged with news stories touting all the various economic indicators that economists and other business and social scientist types like to refer to as a guide to how badly our economy is doing. For the most part these economic indicators read like a laundry list of all those things that caused your eyes to glaze over and you to lapse into a head bobbing, drooling stupor in Economics 101. So in an attempt to devise my own economic indicators I've come up with the following lists. Please feel free to make recommendations for other items that should be included:

Leading Indicators of an economic decline

1. Cocktail conversations sprinkled with any of the following words or phrases:

a. "burn rate" (remember that one? My all time favorite)
b. "new paradigm"
c. "new metrics"
d. "traunch”
e. "mezz financing"

2. men getting plastic surgery

3. Condominium developments that include such amenities as dog spas, billiard rooms (ever notice how the cue sticks never last more than one week), and lap pools.

4. The sale of derivatives and other securities that only those with a degree in physics from either MIT or Princeton can understand. Good luck to any broker peddling this stuff to really explain the risks to their customers.

5. A proliferation of glossy magazines containing 350 pages of ads featuring hot young models younger than your kids wearing clothes that nobody in their right mind would ever wear and only three pages of content.

6. Restaurant dishes containing at least three ingredients that you never heard of, written on menus in type so small that most of us require a magnifying glass and flashlight to read.

7. Yoga studios on every corner

8. Botox

9. $4 cups of coffee

Trailing Indicators

1. The reappearance of squeegee men and graffiti

2. a proliferation of sidewalk preachers urging us to repent

3. Being able to get a table without a reservation at a trendy neighborhood restaurant on a Thursday night.

4. Snooty salespeople becoming polite and friendly.

5. Increased beer sales.

6. Availability of taxi cabs during rush hour on a rainy night

7. Your son's bar mitzvah fund has more money than Bear Stearns, Citibank and the country of Iceland, combined.

1 comment:

Debbi said...

Hey, I like this post. I'm noticing these indicators all the time recently.