Skip to main content
The underwear index


A rise in men's underwear sales over the past few years is giving new legs to an old theory about how to measure a healthy economy.

Here's how sales have risen in Canada since 2005:

Total international sales of Hanes underwear rose $1.26-billion between 2007 and 2015:

The surge in sales will be good news to proponents of the Men's Underwear Index, an oddball economic indicator posited in the 1970s by future U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan. The theory is that men will spend on fresh underwear in prosperous times, but in lean times they'll make do with their existing undergarments until they fall apart.

Fans of the index still have no standardized way to track it, since brands evolve over the years. From the 1970s, Mr. Greenspan could hardly have foreseen an era when Justin Bieber was modelling Calvin Klein, for instance.


Artisanal lingerie? How one entrepreneur turned a love of lace into a business


Canadians’ debt binge on the rise as low interest rates fuel borrowing The glut in consumer debt had been showing signs of easing, but the latest numbers show it speeding up again, sparked by ultra-low interest rates and rising property values, Michael Babad writes.