Wednesday 26 April 2017

Hair dye

The country's female population under 30 is now almost entirely blonde. Almost indistinguishable from Lady Gaga, apart from the fact that they don't have a gold pyramid glued to their head or have shoes that aren't made from pork. But quite a lot of roots are very visible. Any increase in sales of home hair-dye kits mean that people are still cutting back on discretionary spending on stuff, like visits to the hairdresser. It signals that confidence in the future of the economy is poor. Latest eBay.ie stats show a near 53 per cent jump in hair-colour sales year on year. May was the busiest month for hair dyeing.

Office lettings

Renting out of offices is a good way of checking the health of an economy (and, more crucially, what companies think about the future). In the first nine months of the year 126,921 sq ft of Dublin office space was let according to CBRE. This is up 28 per cent on the same period last year. Around 130,000 sq ft of space was let in the whole of 2010, so we're flying. Compared with 2009, the figures are even better . . . up a stonking 75 per cent.

Unemployment

While it seems impossible that overpaid footballers such as Manchester City's Carlos Tevez will ever lose their jobs, thousands of other people continue to do so. The number of people working fell by 2 per cent in the second quarter of the year -- or 37,800. It was the smallest drop in employment since the dark days of 2008, which is reasonably positive but hardly enough to get chirpy. Watching Tevez getting sent out on loan to Aberdeen would up the smile count though.

Latte sales

Good weather isn't the best thing when you're trying to sell coffee. Sales at Ireland's coffee company Insomnia rose by just 0.1 per cent last week as we basked in the sun compared with the same week in 2010. Any port in a storm. Takeaway coffee is a good barometer for discretionary spending.

Stock of properties for sale on Daft

According to daft.ie, the entire stock of residential properties has fallen by a cumulative 1.32 per cent over the past three weeks to the lowest level that we have seen since the genesis of this column. This is a major reduction in the glut of properties on the market and means that stuff is either shifting or houses are being taken off the market.

Retail sales

Retail sales values floated off a cliff in August, down 0.8 per cent on the previous month. Clearly the increased numbers of tourists weren't being ripped off enough. Pubs and bars saw a 5 per cent drop in the month. While people in New Zealand are obviously enjoying the Rugby World Cup, it's proving a bit harder for us to get up at 6am and have a pint on top of your Weetabix.

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