secondhand-cardboard-boxesA week ago, I warned you about the skyscraper index: As more cloud-hugging buildings are built, the economy goes the other direction, down, in other words.

Now, here are a couple of more useful, or maybe useless, indices.

The first one is the cardboard box index, reportedly a favorite of ex-Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, creator of no less than three recessions, including the current depression-bordering turndown. According to this index, as cardboard box sales go up, so do the economy and the stock market.

My favorite, however, is the hemline index. According to this index, the lower the hemline, the suckier the economy and the lower the stock market. So if we suddenly see the widespread revival of the mini-skirt, we can expect a stock market rally and economic recovery to follow upward in lockstep.

The logic behind these is actually fairly sound, especially with cardboard boxes. Sales of boxes, which are used in shipping, indicate the health of the economy. A stronger economy will see more goods being shipped, and vice versa. As for those beloved (for men, anyway) mini-skirts, the hemline is said to indicate the mood of the country. When it’s up, people are happy because times are good; when down, well, you get it.