The Most Bizarre Economic Indicators


Every day, public and private data-gathering agencies publish economic reports that are widely reported on by the business media.

However, many economists have come to favor the indicators that are less employed — short skirts indicate economic downturn, as does the haircut of Japanese homemakers. See here the indicators apart from GDP and inflation:

iPhone Index 📱

The Concept: The iPhone Index of the Japanese financial services provider Nomura compares prices for the high-quality touchscreen phone in 23 countries – and comes to entirely different results than traditional indicators. According to this one, the US dollar is the world’s most undervalued currency. By contrast, the Big Mac Index – the veteran of the bizarre indices – comes to the opposite conclusion.

The Proof: Is still pending since the indicator only exists since 2016. However, its authors are convinced of the power their indicator.

Big Mac Index 🍔

The Concept: This index compares currency exchange rates in different countries based on the cost of a Big Mac. The index uses purchasing power parity to explain whether a currency is over or undervalued at its current price.

The Proof: The Economist publishes this index annually, and it shows a strong correlation between the dollar price of a Big Mac and GDP per person. The Economist says that merely comparing prices is irrelevant, as labor costs vary significantly by country.

Billy Bookcase Index 📚

The Concept: The Billy Bookcase Index calculates the costs for the greatly Ikea shelf. Prices are derived from the next year’s catalog on October 15 and converted to dollars based on the average exchange rate of the previous 30 days. For 2016, the average world price was $ 58.10. In Egypt, the bookcase was the most expensive one worldwide with 101.55 US dollars.

The Proof: When Ikea did not increase the price for the shelf in the Eurozone in 2014, it was considered an indication of difficulties in recovering from the European debt crisis.

Consumer Consumption Of Beer Index 🍻

The Concept: Consumers often try to save money by drinking at home, sending pub sales and jobs into a tizzy.

The Proof: In Europe, 73% of jobs tied to the beer industry are outside breweries. These include jobs at bars and restaurants. From 2008 through 2010, employment in the beer industry fell 12% versus 2% for Europe as a whole.

Japenese Haircut Indicator 💇🏻‍♀️

The Concept: During flush times women are more likely to get their hair cut, dyed, and simply groomed more frequently. During recessions, they’re more likely to take off extra inches to save on trips to the salon.

The Proof: Few analysts have likened to the idea, but Japan’s Nikkei magazine drew on data that revealed women cut their hair shorter as the economy fell in 1997.

Popcorn Index 🍿

The Concept: If your life is drab and worrying, people are looking for distraction in the cinema.

The Proof: Cinemas had one of their best years during the 2009 recession. As the markets calmed down, the rise of moviegoers was over.

Baked Beans Sales Indicator 🥫

The Concept: Consumers move to canned goods to save on food expenses during hard times.

The Proof: During 2009, the value of baked beans soared 23% in the U.K. as consumers fell back on the staple instead of going out for dinner.