Forget the Case Shiller Index. Baltic Dry Index? Old news. Hemline analysis? Forget it. For real, serious metrics you have to think out of the box (so to speak). You have to consider the plight, for instance, of Latvian hookers. Yes we are serious. So is Bloomberg.
When the economy starts to lift itself out of this recession, what will be the leading indicator that tells us we have turned the corner?
Some people track the price of shipping to gauge the health of global trade. Others look at the supply of freshly minted money pouring out of central banks. A few will say that signs of life in the housing markets are evidence of a recovery.
Forget them all. The one lesson we can draw from the global credit crisis is that all the traditional ways of measuring the state of the economy are about as useful as a bottle of suntan lotion in a snowstorm.
So here are two benchmarks we should all be monitoring more closely: extramarital affairs and the price of Latvian hookers. Both are telling us that there is still plenty of trouble ahead.
Now that we think about it, Spitzer's "great matter" did sort of coincide with the beginning of the end. Really, for the details you should probably go to the original article:
Latvian Hookers Signal No Recovery for Economy: Matthew Lynn [Bloomberg]