Tuesday, June 2, 2009
How Your Undies Track The Recession
I lifted this from MSN.com. Article by Michael Brush.
To help predict a recovery, economists such as Alan Greenspan look to men's underwear sales. Here's what those and other unusual economic indicators say about the road ahead.
By Michael Brush
Guys, if you want to know where the economy is headed next, look in your underwear drawer.
If you're like most men, you've got more than a few skivvies in, well, less than perfect condition.
If you're put off buying replacements -- and your significant other hasn't done it for you -- then guess what? The recession probably ain't over yet.
In fact, right now men's underwear sales suggest that things have bottomed but not started to recover.
Sure, this sounds trivial. But no less an economist than former Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan is a fan of men's underwear sales as an important economic indicator.
It's one of several unusual indicators economists turn to in hard times. We went looking through them in a quest for the much-discussed "green shoots" of an imminent recovery.
Underneath the underwear indicator
Greenspan reasons that because hardly anyone actually sees a guy's undies, they're the first thing men stop buying when the economy tightens. (He told this to National Public Radio's Robert Krulwich years ago.)
By extension, pent-up demand means underwear sales should be among the early risers when growth returns and consumers feel confident enough to shrug off "frugal fatigue," says Marshal Cohen, the chief industry analyst with NPD Group, which tracks consumer behavior.
After a 12-month, 12% decline through the end of January, men's underpants sales leveled off during February and March, according to NPD. That suggests the economic was stabilizing, Cohen says.