It was a good gauge of the construction industry (you have to have a certain number of potties to accommodate specific numbers of workers), which was a good way to measure the economy as a whole. It was generally accurate.
Now, we have a new one, thanks to my buddy Sarah Huddle, who's doing some marketing work for Delta Dental. It's called the Tooth Fairy Poll and, from what I can tell, it's as good as any economic forecast (which aren't all that hot in general). Here's what Sarah says:
The average gift from the Tooth Fairy dropped to $2.10 last year, but she’s still visiting nearly 90 percent of homes throughout the United States, according to The Original Tooth Fairy Pollsponsored by Delta Dental. That average gift is down 42 cents from $2.52 in 2010. The 17 percent drop in value is one of the larger declines since Delta Dental began conducting the Original Tooth Fairy Poll in 1998.
“Like many Americans, the Tooth Fairy needed to tighten her belt in 2011, but she’s hopeful for a recovery this year,” says Chris Pyle of the Delta Dental Plans Association. The poll, which surveyed 1,355 parents across the country, found that the most common amount left under the pillow by the Tooth Fairy is $1. (Note: A little stingy, don't you think, given inflation?)