Here's one indicator the economy is improving: Your favorite seat in the house costs more.
Toilet sales have risen 28 percent since 2011, according to American Standard CEO Jay Gould, whose company is a leading manufacturer of toilets.
"We lost about a third of our overall business from 2008 until 2012," Gould said. "I'm happy to say now, over the past two years, we've been growing at double-digit rates."
Most of the company's $1 billion in annual sales are tied to home remodeling projects, and the company is now trying to capture one of the fastest-growing trends: smart toilets. This summer American Standard started selling the $4,200 AT200, a toilet with a heated seat that automatically opens, closes and flushes.
American consumers looking for a European experience can also use a retractable bidet wand. Competitors Toto and Kohler already sell smart toilets, and Gould said he thinks American Standard can sell $50 million worth a year.