Sure we can look at economists’ predictions, spreadsheets, and all the traditional economic indicators, but what about some other non-traditional ways of telling the economy is poised for better days ahead?
Recently, Yahoo! Finance ran an article entitled 10 Signs the Economy is on the Upswing, which lists some pretty interesting signs that the economy is back, at least for now.
Here’s a look at their list:
1. Men’s Underwear Sales
Yahoo says, “ When it’s tougher to find jobs, men wait longer to replace their underwear, and sales — usually very stable — fell nearly 2.5% in 2009. Now they’ve started to stabilize.” They mention it may take a few years to see sales start to increase again.
That’s a long time to wait to buy underwear! My advice? If you need them, please don’t wait! Or, let Bob know and maybe he’ll run a Fruit-of-the-Loom Giveaway on the site!
2. Dessert Ordering at Restaurants
The National Restaurant Association reports that when times are bad, appetizers, side items, and desserts are an afterthought as customers try to reduce their tabs.
Well, the Board’s consumer confidence index rating is up to 60 (back from a recession low of 25), and they’ve noted many folks are splurging for the sweet treats once again.
3. Depressing Internet Searches
Yahoo says, “The number of Internet searches for “unemployment benefits,” “Social Security,” “unemployment office” and the like spiked in July 2010 and has been trending down since. First-time claims for unemployment insurance have been declining for months now, signaling that mass layoffs are waning and the economy is healing.”
4. Starbucks (Or Your Favorite Coffee House) Sales
“I’ll take a Tall – no make that a Grande – scratch that, gimme a Venti, times are good!”
According to Yahoo, premium coffee is one of the “first little luxuries that consumers find worth shelling out for when they start to feel more comfortable with the direction of the economy. So it’s telling that Starbucks’ net revenues increased 9.5% in 2010, after falling 6% in 2009.”
5. Box Sales
Really? Box sales? Well, everything is at some point shipped in a box, right!? Yahoo says, “The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of bulk shipping costs, hit a 22-year low in December 2008. Though still far from pre-recession levels, it’s on the rise again.”
6. Cabbie Confidence
“Taxi! Yo, Taxi!” During hard times, more folks in cities walk or take public transportation rather than shelling out the clams for a cab ride. Recently, business has started looking up for cab drivers.
7. Golfers and Greenbacks
As a golfer myself, I know hitting the links can be expensive. During recessions, a lot of folks pack up their clubs to save cash. But, as the economy picks up golfers of all sorts dust off their clubs and book their tee times. Yahoo says, “There are still fewer rounds being played than before the downturn, but the number of visits to golf courses stopped declining in 2010 and even increased in the Mid-Atlantic and New England.”
8. The Nip, Tuck Indicator
Folks wanting to get a “little work done” held off for a bit during the economic downturn. But according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the numbers of those who chose to get those tummy tucks and nose jobs rose by more than 13 million.
All I can say is, “Wow!”
9. Casino Revenues
Yahoo says, “Even gamblers get more risk-averse when the economy is in a slump. By 2009, commercial casino revenues had dropped nearly 10% from their 2007 peak. The house’s take increased slightly last year and will head higher this year as consumer spending racks up about a 3% gain this year.”
10. Divorce Filings
“The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers says its members suffered a 37% drop in divorce cases in 2008 and a 57% decline in 2009.”
While most of us as Christians would praise God for that, they look at it as a bad sign. As the economy has turned around, divorce lawyers now have “more business than they can handle — a backlog of pent-up demand. In part, that’s because credit has started to loosen up.”
According to Yahoo, “During the recession, spatting spouses had a tough time arranging the financing to buy out their partner’s stake of businesses and homes, as required by property divisions, so they stuck it out.”
My Two Cents
Well, a brief look at this list shows that the devastating effects of the recession are wearing off – and that may not be a good thing. The American Dream is making a comeback.
How depressing it is to see gambling, plastic surgery, and divorce increasing!
As a financial planner, I was deeply affected by the economic downturn myself, and although it was a very difficult time, God used it in my life to help me see the bigger picture - like helping others, becoming more generous, and building treasure in heaven.
I pray as times start getting better, I don’t become overly self-sufficient again, but instead trust in the Sovereign Provider and Sustainer of all things.
Photo by Rocketeer
How about you?
- Do you think times are getting better?
- What surpsises you most about this list?
- What have you learned through this economic recession?