20 Most Unusual Economic Indicators to Look For

Anamika Mahapatra Anamika Mahapatra
Jul 23, 2022 6 min read
20 Most Unusual Economic Indicators to Look For

Have you ever wondered how guys buying fewer undies could be a sign that the economy is decelerating? Would you believe there is a connection between the economy and the trash you throw out? Yes, your garbage disposal does serve as a barometer of how the market is doing. Did I hear you say how?

There are numerous approaches to forecasting the performance of the economy. Even the kinds that seem to be the most formal are occasionally strange. So let us take a look at them.

The Most Unusual Economic Indicators

How to Track Economic Indicators?

The Most Unusual Economic Indicators

The following are some of the most bizarre and outlandish indicators that can provide an insight into the economic situation:

Growth of Global GDP from 2017 to 2022 (compared to previous year)
Growth of Global GDP from 2017 to 2022 (compared to previous year)

The Big Mac Index

It's a rather well-known one. Every year, the economist releases the cost of Big Macs in several nations to evaluate currency values and per capita income. It simply indicates whether the currencies are at the right level or not. The indicator is often used to measure the PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) between two currencies.

Men's Underwear Index

As per this metric, an increase in demand for men's underpants signals the nation's economic general health or economic boom, on the other hand, a drop in sales says otherwise. Therefore, by monitoring the purchases of men's underpants, we may be able to gauge the overall economic situation.

The Skinny Tie Width Indicator

It seems that men purchase more neckties during tough moments to give the impression that they are employed. Due to economic reforms initiated during prior conflicts, tie size was a consideration for the economic conditions.

The Champagne Index

Champagne is usually opened when there is cause for celebration. Purchases of champagne are therefore typically linked to increasing economic wealth levels. The consumer sentiment can be inferred from this by telling us if the consumers are purchasing luxury or expensive products.


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Japanese Haircut Indicator

It is a Japanese indicator that women in Japan tend to cut their hair and keep them short when the economy is declining and let them grow when the economy is doing well. A notion to explain this indicator is that women cut their hair short during times of crisis because they have less money to spend on their hair care products. As per Japan's Nikkei magazine's data, women cut their hair shorter in 1997, when Japan's economy was facing a decline.

The Happy Meal Indicator

This one's premise is that eateries reduce their freebies for children in an attempt to secure their bottom lines. An example to prove this is that Red Robin reduced their offering of free colours to children during the recession of 2009.

The First Date Indicator

Match.com, US-based Dating website
Match.com, US-based Dating website

Individuals turn to connections for consolation when the market is in trouble to get over their feelings of melancholy and isolation. The indication demonstrates how dating website traffic has surged throughout the downturn. The 2008 financial crisis coincided with the largest visitor spike in over 7 years, according to US-based dating sites provider Match.com, which found similar trends.

The Alligator Population Index

The idea of this indicator is that the declining sales of high-end purses made of alligator skin show that people have less purchasing power. In 2009, alligator farms in Louisiana faced massive losses as the alligators there were producing but their skins had no demand in the market.

Buttered Popcorn Index

As a general rule, folks are said to become more thrifty when the market is struggling. Folks, however, also require a getaway when things are difficult, such as watching films with a bowl of buttery popcorn. With the help of this indication, we can see how the film industry may prosper even in tough times. Amid the 2009 financial crisis, the US movie business experienced one of its finest years before falling, once the markets recovered.

Marine Advertisement Intensity Index

According to the notion, folks attempt to enrol in the navy when things are difficult. If several individuals register then marine advertisement becomes more aggressive to filter out all the weaklings.

The Lipstick Index

According to this measure, during downturns, women frequently choose lipsticks over incredibly costly luxuries like expensive footwear and bags.

The Unclaimed Corpse Indicator

This is another unusual indicator that shows the economic conditions. This indicator is based on the idea that since funerals are expensive, fewer families identify their deceased, and more corpses are left for the government to bury during the time of crisis.

The Garbage Indicator

Individuals spend and consume more as their wealth increases. This remarkably precise predictor, therefore, shows that higher garbage disposal is projected to accompany an expanding economy. This metric, in the opinion of analysts, accurately predicted the U.S. economic output by 82% between 2001 to 2012.

The Baked Beans Sales Indicator

During the Great Recession 2009, baked beans sales rose by nearly 22% compared to previous year
During the Great Recession 2009, baked beans sales rose nearly 22% compared to previous year

People will switch to canned foods to avoid spending more money on food, according to the theory underlying this indicator. In the UK (2009), the value of baked beans rose to 23% as people preferred canned foods over going to restaurants for dinners during the time of crisis.

The Cardboard Box Indicator

Since cardboard containers are used to deliver the majority of non-durable items, declining economic conditions would also affect the sales of these containers. The indicator is simply used to measure the production of consumer goods.


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The R-word Index

The economist's index keeps track of how frequently the term "recession" occurs in the headlines. According to the theory, the use of frightening terms with an r increases during economic downturns.

Curse of the New Headquarters

There are many arguments for and against this, however, few folks continue to hold the opinion that anytime a firm declares that its Headquarters would be shifting, it's time to sell the shares since the price is about to fall.

The Year of the Dragon Indicator

China is the nation with the largest population in the entire world. Therefore, it makes sense that the world economy would grow stronger if the majority of its inhabitants think that getting engaged, investing in real estate, and even procreating in the year of the dragon is a lucky omen.

The Skyscraper Boom Indicator

The idea behind this is that construction surges can make downturns appear worse, particularly when the world's tallest skyscraper is being built. Some of the world's largest skyscrapers were being built during the Great Depression.

Bike Fatality Rates

On the checklist, it is among the most upsetting. Bike mortality rates typically rise during recessions. As per WHO, low and middle-income countries have a higher road traffic fatality rate than high-income countries.

Conclusion

While these causes or alterations in buyer behaviour may be the result of a lack of forethought on the side of the majority, they nonetheless reveal the unintentional decisions consumers make during recessions. Despite the ongoing plans to revive economic growth, the global indexes are still in a downturn and are unpredictably volatile. One of the topics that still is frequently debated is the possibility of a severe recession, and these metrics might aid in understanding current economic developments.‍

FAQs

What is the best indicator of economic growth?

GDP is the best indicator of economic growth.

What are the leading economic indicators?

The leading economic indicators are:

  • GDP
  • Sale of houses
  • Consumer spending
  • Figures of employment
  • Inflation

What are unusual economic indicators?

Some of the most unusual economic indicators are:

  • Japanese haircut indicator
  • The Champagne Index
  • Men's Underwear Index
  • The Big Mac Index
  • The Alligator Population Index

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