May 30th, 2012
* Underwear makers have good news for you. Yearly sales for 2011 jumped 6.6 percent. According to the Underwear Index (championed by Alan Greenspan), the uptick in staples, like boxer shorts, is a sign that consumers are upbeat and not pinching pennies.
* Golf courses had an increase of 21.4 percent in rounds played during 2011. The rise included both public and private courses, meaning that all kinds of golfers were willing to pay. They had a more positive outlook.
* Sit-down restaurant sales rose by 8.7 percent in January 2012 over January 2011. Because more diners chose full-service places, as opposed to fast food, it’s a sign that the economy is back on track.
* Pay-TV sales were up a little in 2011. In spite of options like Netflix and Hulu Plus ($7.99 a month), Americans are still spending $50, $100 or more per month for pay-TV packages.
* Beauty salon sales grew by 5.4 percent over the last two years. In downturns, many customers skimp on hair gels, creams and haircuts. The turnaround is proved by 34 percent of salons saying they have hired more stylists in the past two years.
* Mobile home makers shipped 3,800 units in December 2011, up 30 percent from the month before. A strategist at ConvergEx says strong trailer-park sales may signal stronger overall housing numbers before long.
Interviewed in Time, authorities say the only loser in their survey was the tooth fairy. Per-tooth payouts dropped in 2011, but the non-profit Delta Dental says the tooth fairy is hopeful for improvements this year.