Stephen Dubner's unusual economic indicator:
To me, one of the best indicators of economic mood is simply what people are talking about, especially what they’re willing to talk about in public as in, say, what people are willing to put on the cover of a magazine. Check out the cover lines of this week’s Economist and Time. They read, respectively:
Print Me a Stradivarius: The manufacturing technology that will change the world*
2045: The year man becomes immortal
When people are willing en masse to start talking about the future in non-apocalyptic terms, I take that as a good sign that the panic of the near-term past has officially begun to subside.