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7 Every Day Economic Indicators Tony Stark can Use to Predict Demand

Billionaire Tony Stark’s living depends on the high-tech gadgets his company makes (although he keeps the best for himself). However, when the economy is tanking customers — including governments — can’t afford to buy his high-priced toys. The good news is that there a number of economic indicators that can help Iron Man figure out where the economy is headed, and whether or not it’s time to cut back on production.

Some of these indicators, like housing market numbers, retail sales, and inventory levels, provide insight into what might happen next. Is a recession on the way? But you can’t see retail sales and inventory levels every day. That’s where some of the “every day” economic indicators come in.

BusinessInsider recently listed 15 unusual economic indicators. If Iron Man wants to do a little economic recon, here are 7 every day indicators, that he is most likely to pay attention to:

1. Hemline Index

Rumored to have been observed by economist George Taylor, the hemline index purports that, during good economic times miniskirts come into vogue. During tough times, hemlines fall toward the floor. At least, that’s the thought — and the media has kept that thought going for decades now.

2. Hot Waitress Index

When the economy is tanking, the waitresses get hotter. So, if Tony’s sitting at a fancy restaurant, and he notices how many good-looking servers there are around, it might mean that, according to the hot waitress index, these better looking women can’t find better paying jobs.

3. Beer Consumption Index

Iron Man has substance abuse problems. But if he starts drinking more at home, instead of going out, in order to save a few bucks, that could be an indication of wider economic problems. Indeed, business at bars dwindles during a recession as more people stay home.

4. Playmate Index

Could Playboy really be an economic indicator? Some researchers seem to think so. Indeed, a study found that Playmates preferred during tough economic times were older and heavier — and lacking in as many curves. During better economic times, Playmates tend to have more curves, while being shorter, lighter and younger.

5. Necktie Color Index

During times when the economy is good, neckties tend to be brightly colored. Indeed, the color Tony feels like wearing around his neck could be a signal indicating the strength of the economy. Bright, optimistic pink neckties usually mean that things are going well. However, when times get tough, that mood is reflected in color choice — and the colors are much more subdued.

6. Lipstick Indicator

Is Pepper Potts more into lipstick these days? During an economic downturn, women are likely to indulge in the smaller, simpler pleasures. As women feel worried about where the economy is headed next — or about their own finances — they might turn to inexpensive ways to perk up. Buying lipstick can be the perfect way to treat herself, without breaking the bank. When Tony notices that Pepper is buying more lipstick, it might be time to worry about the economy.

7. Underwear Indicator

What economic indicator does Alan Greenspan use when assessing the economy? Underpants! As men become worried about the economy, they buy fewer pairs of underwear. Greenspan famously noted that underwear sales remain stable over the years — except when a recession looms. Only then do underwear sales dip.

What’s your favorite economic indicator?