William P. Barrett has his own way of determine the state of economy. He calls it the DMV Test.
And it is very simple.
The longer the lines and the longer the wait at the DMV, the better the economy. And of course, the opposite also applies, the shorter the wait is, the worst the economy in the short to medium term.
As a journalist, Barrett has moved around a lot. He has, in other words, considerable experience getting a driver’s license in different places.
As an example he mentions Houston, TX, 1980. Four-and-a-half hours to get a license. Those were the days when the economy in Houston was fueled by rising oil prices. In 1987, he was back after a five-year absence. The city was experiencing a severe collapse in oil prices and the line at the DMV office was gone. Twenty-two minutes. The economy was bad.
Applying Barrett’s test today, you would probably find the longest lines in Florida, Arizona, Louisiana, and Wyoming. These states have the largest job gains right now. And the shortest lines? Well, California, New York, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, all report declines in employment rates.
Read more about Barrett’s DMV Test at: blogs.forbes.com