Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Latest Econ Statistical Data Releases

Suburbiavilletown, BlueState (Retuers 13:51PM) Two new data points released today has provided economists and market observers yet more (anecdotal) evidence that higher food and energy prices are beginning to bite. The first data series, The Main Street "EyeDrX Appointment Backlog index " has shown a dramatic fall since the same time last year. The release, poorly attended by my spouse, heard the doctor reveal at said spouse's annual vision check-up that his appointment book, which was running consistently at three months wait for the past several years dropped precipitously during the last quarter, and is currently hovering at a mere two weeks wait for an appointment. No external factors (competition, weather, etc) can explain the drop other than that diminishing disposal income is beginning to bite into what historically may have been seen as non-discretionary purchases, but in a crunch can be delayed, perhaps indefinitely. "I've a lot more time on my hands" said the Doc, "and I'm none too thrilled about it. And by the way, my fees have gone 15% since this time last year, but your insurance reimbursement rates are the same! Happy Tuesday"

The second time series that is an insightful tell-tale into current middle and upper-middle class consumer distress is the "End of year Teacher Gift Reimbursement Ratio". Measured on an oscillating scale between "zero" and a "hundred", it measures the percentage of reimbursement received by the Class Moms, that compensates them for their prepayment of the their childrens' teacher's end-of-year gift. Historically (since the beginning of the index's compilation) we were at 75% by the end of the first week. "This year", said the bubbly class mom, "we're at 25%". "It's inexplicably low!! I've been class Mom for six of the past seven years, and even at the trough of the tech wreck in 2002, I've never seen a reading below 55% in week-one of asking for repayment. . " Something is incredibly wrong...."

In related news, the "Toddler's Median Value Birthday Present" time series fell in for a fourth consecutive month, both on a YoY and MoM from $29.50 in May, to $22, in what analysts say is another sign of our times. "Not only has the value fallen due to presumed consumer distress, but due to inflation, the quality of gifts at various pricepoints has diminished too". When one reveler was asked about what he thought of the trend, he replied: "I dunno....my mom bought it. Can I have more cake??!?"

7 comments:

etc said...

The other Kass (Doug) drew conclusions regarding dentists, similar to yours regarding doctors. After checking channels, Kass found a slow down in dentristy procedures. Likewise, Fred Hickey found growth in inventory and A/R on various tech companies' balance sheets, suggesting softness in various tech sales.

A trend I've noticed is companies starting to switch low and mid level employees from blackberry's to PDAs using a windows operating system, in order to reduce support costs by not using RIMM's servers. Since windows based PDAs do so much -- they crash, they hog battery power, they etc -- you know this trend isn't a push for higher quality devices.

Anonymous said...

And for the slightly older set, the Who Gets a Car When They Turn 16 index is also under severe downward pressure. Seems ole mom and dad are holding onto the old beater and not forking over so quickly.

Kady said...

Those are just friggin' awesome statistics. You should submit them to the economist for inclusion in their end page Economic and financial indicators.

It could be the new Big Mac Index.

jm said...

A few weeks ago I finally got around to stopping in a the optometrist's Saturday morning to pick up an extra pair of glasses I'd had made many months ago, before I traded in a secure but boring job for a start-up gamble that has me working very long hours. The office was empty -- no one at all waiting, something I'd never seen before. Could it be that Saturday morning is always slow? Doesn't seem very likely.

RK said...

The next shoe to drop is "spokespersons". For months now, all they have done is, "decline to comment" been
"unavailable for comment" or "didn't return repeated calls". Someone's gonna figure out they're redundant.

Anonymous said...

Cas

I would love your take on this piece. TIA.

http://www.portfolio.com/news-markets/top-5/2008/06/12/Countrywide-Loan-Scandal

Anonymous said...

But with the cake, and likely substitution of cheaper transfatted varieties, will the grotesquely fat toddlers index take a hit too?...Stay glued to your seats...