While many consumers are looking for debt relief, experts are looking for new ways to predict when it will come. Interestingly enough, there are some tell-tale signs of how the economy is managing in very unpredictable places. It’s like the “rise in hemlines means a rise in stock prices” theory of the ’60s that took hold. Experts are finding more correlations that are out of the obvious, but still good indicators of the economic climate.
Some tell-tale indicators
Research shows that in the most recent recessive years, movie ticket sales have increased steadily. According to the National Association of Theater Owners, tickets have sold 9 percent more this year than they did last year the same time. Though consumers are cutting back on many other things, their movie entertainment is not one of them.
Rise in gardening
Another indicator of how the economy is doing is the number of households who grow their own produce. This year there has already been a 19 percent rise in homes with their own vegetable, herb and fruit gardens. That adds up to an estimated 43 million people gardening this year. Although “fun and recreation” are cited as motivators, most homes agree that saving on the price of food is the main reason they are maintaining gardens to their homes.
Online dating services & romance novels see more activity
During tough times, dating services see more activity. It seems that during recession periods, more Americans are looking for their significant other, or at least someone to go to the movies with. Romance novel sales pick up drastically during recession periods, as well. Consumers are looking for debt relief and if they can’t find it literally, they will find it temporarily through books. Harlequin, a leader in romance novel publishing, noted a huge increase in sales in 2008. Their revenues were up by 32 percent and on a consistent rise the beginning of 2009. Similar increases occurred during the hard times of the early ’90s
The alligator economy
Another unusual indicator of how the economy is doing is the alligator economy. Louisiana houses Savoie’s Alligator farm, one of the largest of its type in the nation. They sell gator skin hides to tanners, who in turn create high-ticket items for the likes of Louis Vuitton and D&B. Spokesperson for Savoie’s reported that they have “not sold a single hide since November.” This is another economic indicator that the economy is not doing well and consumers are cutting back on luxury items. Gator farmers are losing money quickly because of lack of sales, and they need to find innovative ways of maintaining the hides they do have.
Signs of the times
These five odd indicators are revealing signs that give economists a picture of how the economy is fairing. If consumers are seeking debt relief, it may seem odd to look at alligator farming numbers or sales in romance novels, but over time, they have both proven to be accurate indicators of the state of the economy.