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The Men's Underwear Index

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If you are like most, you choose to know nothing about the economy, because there is nothing relatable. GDP, systematic risk, stagflation, business and consumer confidence rising 1/100th on previous corresponding period and so on.


Thankfully for the folk that are interested in underwear, and want be able to talk the economy - Alan Greenspan exists. He was an economic smart guy who was Chairman of the Federal Reserve for 19 years (essentially boss of the US economy for 19 years) and also had an interesting take on how to look at the strength of the local economy - the Men's Underwear Index (MUI).


The theory of the MUI is that underwear is viewed as a necessity by men, and sales will only decline in times of severe economic distress. Greenspan is suggesting that men are happy with stretched out, tattered cloth under their strides when they are really struggling for a buck. However, in more buoyant times, men will treat themselves to some fresh tackle wrappers as often as they see fit (3 pairs every 4 months recommended).


Given the GFC hit in 2008, and there has been a steady economic growth since, the below chart of Hanes' underwear sales seems to validate Greenspan's claim that the underwear sales are a prescient marker to overall economic growth.


So go and check your underwear drawer, and let us know how the economy is tracking by shooting us an email.

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