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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Six Unusual Economic Indicators

By Danielle Kurtzleben





Sometimes the skirts at the mall or the price of a Big Mac can say a lot about the economy's health


JewishWorldReview.com | (USNWR) The unemployment rate can be measured any number of different ways. The Dow is volatile. GDP seems to constantly be revised downward. Every major economic indicator comes with its own unique set of complexities and caveats. But as it turns out, some of the simplest ways to measure the economy can be found at the nearest Bloomingdale's or fast food restaurant down the street. Here are a list of the unorthodox ways to track where the economy is and where it's going.

Big Mac Index

In this index, The Economist uses the ubiquitous Big Mac to compare exchange rates. As Big Macs around the world are more or less the same, differing prices in different countries for the burger showthe gap in how different currencies are valued. As The Economist reported in January, the price of a Big Mac in Switzerland - $6.81 - shows the Swiss franc to be the most overvalued currency the magazine studies. Meanwhile, India's Maharaja Mac (made with chicken instead of beef in the predominately Hindu country), priced at $1.62, suggests that the Indian rupee is undervalued. While it would be unrealistic to expect prices and exchange rates to perfectly track together, economic theory holds that a country's prices for a basket of goods and services should predict exchange rates over the long run.

 

Lipstick

Leonard Lauder, chairman emeritus of cosmetics company Estee Lauder, coined the term "lipstick index" in 2001, explaining why his company sold so much lipstick during the early-2000s recession. Since then, the concept has been expanded to nail polish and foundation. However, the basic idea remains the same—when finances are tight, consumers will forego large luxury purchases for smaller indulgences, like cosmetics.

However, the connection across cosmetics is blurry. According to the most recent data from market research firm Mintel, lip makeup sales were down in 2010 but projected to recover slightly in 2011. However, sales of other facial cosmetics grew in 2010 and were projected to grow further in 2011.

Instead, cosmetic sales can reveal other trends in spending, like tradeoffs between more expensive brands and cheaper alternatives. The most recent Estee Lauder sales report showed a bump in sales, suggesting that upper-crust consumers might be rebounding to pre-recession spending levels. Meanwhile, Mintel's recent data suggests that many other women have "traded down" to less expensive brands.

 

Men's Underwear

Consider it the converse of makeup indices. If cosmetics are the small luxuries of tough times, men's underwear is the opposite: a basic necessity whose purchase can be pushed into the future until more disposable funds are available. Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan famously espoused the theory, positing that a downtick in underwear sales can foreshadow an economic downturn. If the idea holds water, then the U.S. economy may be firmly on the upswing. The Associated Press reported last week that men's undergarment sales were up more than 7 percent in 2011.

 


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Hemlines

The Hemline Index is one of the best-known alternative measures of economic performance. Theorized in 1926 by economist George Taylor, the theory behind this indicator is that women's hemlines tend to follow the stock market. Skirts tend to get shorter during boom times, while ankle-length hemlines signify a bear market. Glamour recently referenced the indicator, speculating that the uneven hemlines currently in vogue reflect the volatile Dow Jones average.

In a 2010 paper, two economists from the Erasmus School of Economics in the Netherlands showed that the skirt-stock correlation exists, albeit with a three-year lag time. Therefore, they predicted that the recent recession would mean long skirts "around 2011 and 2012." Maybe that explains the recent—if early—rage for floor-length maxi dresses in summer 2010 and 2011.

Cardboard Box Shipments

The idea behind this one is simple: many goods ship in corrugated cardboard boxes, so when box companies are producing more, it's a good economic sign. According to data from the Federal Reserve, production of "paperboard containers"—which includes corrugated cardboard boxes—grew in the second half of 2011 but is down from 2007, pre-recession.

 

Waffle House Index

Unlike the other indicators on this list, the so-called "Waffle House Index" has less nuance to it. Rather, it's more of a binary signal after a catastrophic event, like a hurricane or tornado. The chain of restaurants is notorious for operating even after disasters. As the Wall Street Journal reported after Hurricane Irene moved up the East Coast in 2011, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate sees Waffle Houses as a sign of how hard-hit a community might be. "If you get there and the Waffle House is closed? That's really bad. That's where you go to work," he has said.

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