Who needs financial prognosticators? You can tell firsthand how the economy’s doing by looking for signs at places you visit every day. 

  • First, attention, gym rats! Experts say that when people had full-time jobs, they rushed to the gym before work or on their way home. So if gyms are packed during the day, that means more people are out of work and have time to go whenever they want. So, you’ll know more people have jobs when the treadmills are empty in the middle of the day.

  • Another way to tell how the economy’s doing: If your neighbors move. Real estate agents say that in a healthy economy, houses sit on the market for an average of three months. In 2010, it was double that. So, if the house down the street sells by May, things are looking up.

  • Finally, you’ll know things are going well when you can’t get a plumber to fix your kitchen sink. Repair company revenue dropped 17-percent in 2010. Because even though leaky kitchen sinks are annoying, people didn’t want to spend money on minor repairs. But when it takes a few days to get an appointment with a plumber or electrician – that means things are good.