Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hamburgers, Hemlines or Housing Starts?

Looking for ways to understand what’s going on in the economy, either local or global?
You may want to read through a recent Minyanville ( posted on MSN Money article ( title “Economic indicators: Serious and Silly (although what’s silly for one person is serious for another.).

Of the ten indicators listed you’ll likely be familiar with the CPI (Consumer Price Index), housing starts and unemployment rate. But did you ever consider tracking sales of men’s underwear? That’s a one followed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. Other trends to watch include women’s hemlines (do shorter skirts mean a stronger economy?) or people on magazine covers (will the company stock go up or down?) For insight to global purchasing power there’s the Big Mac index published by the Economist magazine (

With a glance at the current index issued in January 2010 I can see that a Big Mac will cost approximately US $4.84 when I arrive in Paris later this month and in Japan in November it will cost $3.50. The average cost in the US? It’s $3.58. What’s the cost at your next destination and what data, trends will you follow to understand our world economy?

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