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10 bizarre measures of economic wellbeing

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the primary indicator used to gauge the health of a country’s economy. It represents the total value of all goods and services produced over a specific time period, usually an year. However, some interesting and alternative measures of well being have been developed over the years. Below are ten of the most popular alternative economic indicators according to Business Insider

1. The lipstick indicator

The lipstick indicator is perhaps the most popular alternative form of measuring how the economy is doing. The term was coined by Estee Lauder (a cosmetic company) chairman Leonard Lauder, who consistently found that during tough economic times, his lipstick sales went up. It is pegged on the notion that women must buy something for themselves. When the economy is booming, they buy expensive designer bags and clothes but when they feel the pinch, they settle on lipstick which will not dent their pockets.

2. High-heel

According to IBM, usually, in an economic downturn, heels go up and stay up — as consumers turn to more flamboyant fashions as a means of fantasy and escape. During the dot-com boom, which coincided with economic depression in the US, stiletto sales surged.

3. Skinny tie

Men will buy ties to appear that they are working harder during difficult economic times with ties get slimmer during bad times and brighter when the economy starts to recover. In the UK for example, with news that layoffs could be coming in 2007, sales of ties spiked as men tried to show employers that they came to do work.

4. Hemline

The Hemline index was coined by economist George Taylor in the 1920s. The index predicts the market based on the length of women’s skirts and dresses. The shorter the hemline, the better the economy is looking. Some economists still point to the dreary lengths that came out following the US financial crisis in 2008.

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