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Hot Waitress Economic Index


The Hot Waitress Economic Index is an informal measure of the state of the economy that is based on the physical attractiveness of waitresses. The idea is that during a strong economy, individuals with more attractive physical attributes can find higher-paying jobs, leaving less attractive people to jobs like waitressing. Conversely, during a weak economy, even attractive individuals might need to resort to such professions as the job market becomes more competitive.


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Key Takeaways


  1. The Hot Waitress Economic Index is an informal economic indicator that suggests during tough economic times, higher numbers of attractive people, specifically waitresses, are likely to be seen working in less lucrative industries such as in restaurants or bars. The theory being these attractive people would have otherwise been employed in high-paying jobs in a flourishing economy.
  2. The index was created by Hugo Lindgren, a New York magazine editor. It caught the public eye during the economic recession of 2009 as an unconventional way of gauging economic health.
  3. However, it’s important to note that while this index can provide an interesting observation, it lacks scientific validity. Economists do not acknowledge it as a reliable measure of economic condition because it’s entirely subjective and doesn’t utilize measurable variables.



The Hot Waitress Economic Index is an informal measure used to predict economic health based on the physical attractiveness of waiters and waitresses. The premise is that during times of economic boom, more potential job opportunities are available, thereby increasing competition for jobs, even in industries like the service sector. In contrast, during tougher economic times, there are fewer job opportunities available, leading to higher attractiveness people working in lower paying jobs like waitressing. Although it’s a rather unorthodox and subjective economic indicator, it provides a tangible, easy-to-understand measure of economic conditions, humanizing economic trends and data. However, its lack of empirical backing and potential to objectify individuals makes it more of a humorous anecdote than a reliable economic tool.


The purpose of the Hot Waitress Economic Index is to serve as an unconventional and somewhat humorous economic indicator, assessing the state of the economy based on the physical appearance of servers in the restaurant and bar industry. The core premise is that in a booming economy, individuals with high attractiveness have a wide variety of employment options available, many of which offer better compensation and working conditions than service-oriented roles in bars and restaurants. Therefore, the theory implies that the attractiveness of waitstaff increases as the economy falters, as good-looking individuals have fewer job options and turn to this industry for employment.Much like other non-traditional economic indices, such as the Skyscraper Index or the Hemline Index, the Hot Waitress Economic Index is used to highlight patterns and correlations rather than being a precise, scientific measure of economic health. While it may not be considered as credible as conventional indicators like employment rates or GDP, it provides an interesting, if somewhat tongue-in-cheek, way of observing economic trends. It enables people to discuss the state of the economy in more relatable, less technical terms, connecting macroeconomic shifts to everyday experiences.


The “Hot Waitress Economic Index” is an unconventional theory that postulates that the more attractive servers are at restaurants, the weaker the state of the economy. The theory suggests that good-looking individuals tend to get hired for high-paying jobs during good economic times, but when the economy weakens, they would turn to jobs like waiting tables. Here are three theoretical, real world examples:1. 2008 Financial Crisis: During the 2008 financial crisis, many people, including those considered attractive, lost their jobs as companies downsized and filed for bankruptcy. An increased number of attractive individuals might have been seen working in bars and restaurants during this period, reflecting the seriousness of the economic recession.2. COVID-19 Pandemic: The ongoing pandemic has caused a severe economic downturn affecting many sectors. As a result, people from diverse professional backgrounds – actors, models, corporate professionals, who were un/underemployed by circumstances, might have turned to service industry jobs to make ends meet. This could be sensed as a spike in the “attractiveness” of your servers and could corroborate the Hot Waitress Economic Index.3. Post Dot-Com bubble: After the dot-com bubble burst around 2000, the economy went into a slump with soaring unemployment rates. Much like the financial crisis scenario, there might have been a noticeable increase in aesthetically pleasing individuals working as waiters or bartenders – indicating the adverse economic conditions.Remember, the “Hot Waitress Economic Index” is an informal and humorous metric. It should not be used for making serious economic assertions.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the Hot Waitress Economic Index?

The Hot Waitress Economic Index is an unconventional economic indicator that relates the business cycle’s health to the physical attractiveness of waitresses in a city. The underlying idea is that in a strong economy, physically attractive individuals can land better jobs, while they might seek employment in the hospitality industry during times of economic slowdown.

Who coined the term Hot Waitress Economic Index?

The Hot Waitress Economic Index was coined by Hugo Lindgren and his team, writing for the magazine New York.

How accurate is the Hot Waitress Economic Index as an economic indicator?

The Hot Waitress Economic Index is considered a tongue-in-cheek indicator and is not relied upon for serious economic analysis. It’s more of a social observation than a solid statistical measure.

How often is the Hot Waitress Economic Index updated?

As it’s a more informal and satirical economic indicator, there’s no standard schedule for updating the Hot Waitress Economic Index. It’s typically referenced in conversation or media as a social commentary on the economy.

Can the Hot Waitress Economic Index be applied to other industries?

While the index is named after the serving industry specifically, the underlying premise might have anecdotal applicability in other industries where physically attractive individuals might find work during economic downturns.

Is the Hot Waitress Economic Index gender-specific?

Despite its name, the index isn’t gender-specific. The principle behind it can apply to anyone in the service industry, regardless of their gender.

How is the physical attractiveness determined?

The term ‘Hot Waitress’ is subjective and does not adhere to any standardized measure of attractiveness. It’s more a commentary on perceived societal trends than an actual scientific metric.

Is the Hot Waitress Economic Index a globally accepted term?

No, it isn’t. This term is largely colloquial and isn’t a recognized or official economic index. It’s predominantly used in casual conversation and media references.

Can the Hot Waitress Economic Index be considered as discrimination?

While the index itself is a socio-economic commentary, any real-world hiring practices based on physical attractiveness could potentially be seen as discriminatory. It’s important to remember that hiring should ideally be done based on skills, qualifications, and suitability for the role.

Are there other similar economic indicators?

Yes, there are other informal economic indicators like the Lipstick Effect, the Skyscraper Index, or the Hemline Index that also aim to link economic conditions with societal behaviors or trends, though these are also not officially recognized or universally accepted.

Related Finance Terms

  • Behavioral Economics
  • Indicators of Economic Health
  • Alternative Economic Measures
  • Consumer Spending
  • Service Industry Trends

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