Mind-Boggling Economic Indicators

Bored with traditional economic indicators like GDP, Inflation and Per Capita Income to gauge the economy?

Here are five most popularly unpopular anomalous economic indicators that you may have never heard off!

1. Buttered Popcorn Index – Love watching Netflix, Amazon Prime or Movies at theatre? There exists an imminent negative correlation between the state of the economy and people flocking to theatres to watch movies. This is evident from the fact that during the Great Depression and 2008-09 Financial Crisis, record footfall was experienced in movie theatres. Every week 60-80 million people visited movie theatres during the Great Depression, while 1.42 billion tickets were sold in 2009, which was highest during 2005-2014. Surge in theatre audience at the time of economic slowdown is justified as people don’t look at it as an expense, rather they see it as one of the few options left for affordable entertainment.

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2. First Date Indicator – There has been conclusive evidence that during tough economic conditions dating skyrockets. This may be contrary to the normal beliefs that there are dating costs which makes it expensive. But, in difficult times individuals look for companions to escape reality and relieve from economic sufferings. Dating giant, match.com revealed that last quarter of 2008 (financial crisis) was the busiest in 8 years. Soon after the 09/11 attacks, at the end of 2001, the dating website recorded massive volumes, underpinning the notion of rise in dating in economic crisis.

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3. R-Word Index – This index tends to predict Recession (R-Word) at nascent stages, thus acting as a leading indicator. Several agencies track the use of word Recession in press reports, any unusual and sustained spike in the use of R-word is reflective of economic recession. The index triumphantly prognosticated American recessions in 1990, 2001 and 2007. The index was at its peak in 2009 at the time of economic crisis. We are noticing something similar in Indian press recently. Hope this doesn’t come true this time!

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4. Baby Diaper Rash Indicator – According to Procter & Gamble, average American parents spends $1,500 per baby on diapering each year. Under normal scenario, the diapers of the baby are changed 6.3 times a day. But during an economic recession, the poor baby suffers from rashes as the frequency of diaper change reduces substantially, as it is the first expense household looks to cut down. However, this results in augmented sales of diaper rash creams and ointments. During a particular period in economic recession, the number of babies aged 2 or less in the US fell about 3%, however the diaper sales fell by 9%, which led to surge of 2.8% sales in rash creams and ointments. Quite convincing!

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5. Mosquito Bite Indicator – Mosquito bites are equally bad for the economy as it is for you. Sharp rise in mosquito bites is a signal of staggering economy. It was vividly seen during 2009 crisis. As much of the recession was due to real estate gloom, people left their houses along with pools unattended which became breeding ground for mosquitoes and insects, ultimately leading to jump in the rate of mosquito bites. Number of pools that were to be treated by Maricopa County Environmental Services Department saw 60% rise in 2009 from 2007. Just a reality check: Real estate market in India has also been stagnant in the past couple of years. Wish you get a good night sleep today without a mosquito bite.

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Do share these rare indicators.

(Source: The Economist, Business Insider, Economic Times)

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