Men’s Underwear Will Lead Us Out of The Recession

August 7, 2009

by: John Newcomer

The stock market is up, foreclosure filings are leveling off, but men’s underwear are down. That has more implications than you might think. Major news outlets like Newsweek magazine may have declared the recession over, but it ain’t really over until men’s underwear says it’s over.

Yes, according to none other than dean of the financial markets Alan Greenspan, the sale of men’s briefs is one of the most accurate predictors of economic conditions.  If sales are too tight, the economy is likely in a pinch.

Men’s Briefs Tell the Tale

In a 2008, National Public Radio (NPR) report it was revealed that Greenspan believed that men’s briefs were among the most accurate predictors of an economic crisis. “If you look at sales of male underpants, it’s just pretty much a flat line, it hardly ever changes” reported Robert Krulwich. “But on those few occasions where it dips that means that men are so pinched that they are deciding not to replace underpants.”  And so Greenspan says “that is almost always a prescient, forward impression that here comes trouble.”

According to Matt Hall, a spokesman for Hanes brand, “They (sale of men’s underwear) tend to be later going into a recession and earlier coming back.” Once men feel more comfortable with their finances, they will spend money on the inexpensive things that no one sees.

Sagging Sales Reflect Sagging Economy

And so it was –2008 saw a 12% decline in the sale of men’s briefs. Yes, men’s briefs were pretty much down around the ankles. But modern man wouldn’t resort to going “commando,” so it was predicted that the sale of men’s briefs would soar in the first quarter of 2009.  Alas, men’s briefs were sagging again –down 6%.

With all of this pent up demand, one would think briefs would have to turn upward in the second quarter and lead us out of the recession, but still NO.  The recession drags on.

Hanes brands just reported second quarter 2009 sales.  The bad news men are still wearing those old ratty and now thread bare underwear.  Sales again declined, this time 4%.  If there is a silver lining, the decline in men’s briefs has slowed.

Still,  with so many predictions that the economy is on the mend, some might suggest there are holes in this theory.  Not so fast.

According to Mintel, an English research company, for a recovery to start you will need to see sales increases of 2% to 3% annually.  Mentel does not expect men’s brief sales to increase until 2013.  Yikes!!!  Maybe some men ARE going commando.

This recession might just be the longest, smelliest one in US history.