The Vixen Index

From a 2012 post by Investment Postcards

If there is anything that economists like better than a new way to make an old argument, I would not know what it would be. We dearly love some new method or measure – even the weird ones. Here are three additional signs that the economy is not in the greatest position – as if you had not figured that out for yourself.

First there is the Vixen Index (sometimes referred to as the Hot Waitress Index). The premise is that attractive young women have more job options in a vibrant economy as they will likely find positions in companies wishing to show off. When the job market is tight they have fewer of these options and end up working in bars and restaurants. Don’t laugh – this index was developed almost 20 years ago and tends to track employment numbers accurately.

Next up is the Lawn Index. It seems that a nice green lawn has become pretty costly in the middle of a massive drought. It can only be accomplished with significant investment in water. Restrictions on watering aside, the cost of that endeavor is getting steep and there are far more brown lawns than there were a few years ago. You really know that recession has set in when you see suburban homeowners turning their lawns over to the neighborhood ranchers for grazing cattle.

Finally there is the Allowance Index. It seems that allowances hit an all-time high in the middle of the last decade – an average of 25 dollars a week for kids under the age of 12. Now that allowance has crashed and is less than $10. One does not know whether the little darlings have lost any further subsidy, but their cash income has slipped a lot.

It would be great to update these weird indices, seeing that GDP and unemployment figures suggest that things have gotten better since, yet wage growth is weak with low participation rates…

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