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.