My Personal Leading Economic Indicator

One of the joys of having small children is that you get to know the guy at the local plumbing supply shop really well. It’s amazing what will fit down a toilet these days.

He once told me that when Troll Dolls hit the market, every plumber in the country was guaranteed a job for life. When I went there yesterday I thought I’d pick up some leading economic indicators as well. After a deadly year, business is picking up a bit. Sure, it is still down from the onset of the Great Recession five years ago, but there is a definite improvement going on.

This was the Eureka moment! His comments confirm the sort of modest recovery I have been expecting. We aren’t going to zero anymore, but it is not exactly off to the races either. Throughout the nineties, a salesman at Circuit City (RIP) walked me through every generation of technology, and he was worth his weight in gold. All I had to do was buy a new TV from him every year, and they kept getting bigger and more expensive. I bought the second high definition TV sold in California, after George Lucas, who I used to run into at the local IHOP having breakfast with an aspiring young starlet. It was his casting couch.

Sometimes figuring out the direction of the economy is as simple as going down to the local butcher, baker, or candlestick maker and asking. They are on the front lines of economic activity, and they will see any changes months before those of us glued to computer screens. Make it your own unfair advantage, your own heads up in the marketplace. Just keep your eyes open and observe.

Asking George Lucas also helps.

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