What's the weirdest economic indicator you've heard of? The Dirty Underwear Index? The Bad Eye Make-Up Index? For me, it's got to be the More Mosquitos Index. When homeowners foreclose and vacate their pools and ponds, the standing water attracts mosquitoes to breed. But I admit I was intrigued by the seemingly fantastical claim that recessions make restaurant waitresses hotter. Huh?
Hugo Lindgren explains the Hot Waitress Index:
The hotter the waitresses, the weaker the economy. In flush times, there is a robust market for hotness. Selling everything from condos to premium vodka is enhanced by proximity to pretty young people (of both sexes) who get paid for providing this service. That leaves more-punishing work, like waiting tables, to those with less striking genetic gifts. But not anymore.
When restaurants start laying off staff, the prettiest waitresses are presumably the last to go. Voila: Bad times make hot waitresses.
All these wacky economic indices (The Jay-Z Indicator, The Cigarette Indicator, and so forth) have one thing in common. They're about 70 percent intuition and 30 percent hilarious extrapolation that rubs against the edge of logic. More leading indicator weirdness here and at Kottke.