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The Latest Hotness Indicator

Waitress
Waitress

There are many ways to measure where we are in the economic cycle. GDP, unemployment numbers, housing starts, hot waitresses.

"The hotter the waitresses, the weaker the economy," Hugo Lindgren writes in New York Magazine. He has developed the Hot Waitress Index, under the theory that attractive people land great jobs in sales...when there are jobs in sales. When the economy contracts, they trade down to waiting tables.

Lindgren spoke to one waitress at a club on the Lower East Side, who told him, "They slowly let the boys go, then the less attractive girls, and then these hot girls appeared out of nowhere." But he also points out that hotness only goes so far. "Rare indeed is the waitress who is so smoking that customers don't mind when she drops a glass of Cabernet into their laps."

Lindgren claims the Hot Waitress Indexis actually a leading indicator, unlike the rest of unemployment.

Hot people will migrate back to better jobs sooner than not-so-hot auto workers.

So when you see the hot waitress go, it's time to feel good, not bad.

The economy is rebounding.

CNBC.com Slideshow: Eleven Surprising Stock Market Indicators

Finally, Lindgren points out other indices apart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics which measure economic ups and down: The Overeducated Cabbie Index and, my favorite, The Speed at Which Contractors Return Calls Index- "within 24 hours, you're in a recession; if they call you without prompting, that's a depression."

Questions? Comments? Funny Stories? Email funnybusiness@cnbc.com

  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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