Economic indicators include cyclist deaths, baked beans, popcorn, coupon clipping, lipstick, men’s underwear and Google searches.

… the number of cyclists killed in the U.K. has risen during three of the last four recessions.

The Department for Transport reports that cyclist deaths across the country rose by 7 per cent last year …. And in the first half of this year, the number of cyclists killed or seriously hurt rose 12 per cent year over year.  [….]

Cyclist deaths also rose during the recession of 1980-84, by 14 per cent, says the DfT, and by 58 per cent between 1930-35. But after both those periods, the number of fatalities dropped, suggesting that commuters returned to costlier transportation options.

“It is likely that any increase in the number of fatalities during a recession is related to an increase in the number of cyclists. More people get on their bike or spend more time on a bike during a recession,” one cycling advocate told The Guardian.

[….]

While esoteric economic signposts such as the length of women’s hemlines (supposedly longer in tough times) or the width of men’s ties (slimmer during recessions) have their believers, the recession in the U.S. and elsewhere has spawned several new “indexes.” Here’s a half-dozen:

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Baked beans index

Consumers turn to cheaper canned goods during hard times. [….]

Lipstick index

A variation on the “affordable indulgence” theory [….]

Popcorn index

Consumers flock to the affordable entertainment of cinemas during hard times. [….]

Men’s underwear index

Men put off buying new underwear during recessions [….]

Coupon clipping index

… Cash-strapped consumers use more coupons during hard times. [….]

Google search index

Google says search interest in nearly two dozen areas, from unemployment to purchases of luxury goods, fluctuates with the stock market. [….]

Spotted as U.K. cyclists at risk during recessions | Dec. 29, 2011 | Globe and Mail at https://secure.globeadvisor.com/servlet/ArticleNews/story/gam/20111229/RBDAYBOOK1229ECONINDICATORSATL.

Original source as “Cyclist deaths rise during recessions, figures suggest” | Mark King | Dec 27. 2011 | The Guardian at http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/dec/27/cyclist-deaths-rise-recessions

A memorial for Deep Lee, a cyclist who died near King's Cross station in central London. Photograph: Linda Nylind for the Guardian