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Friday, March 02, 2012

The Dentist Indicator

by Calculated Risk on 3/02/2012 08:21:00 PM

I visited my dentist last week, and he told me business has been picking up. This article from Kelly Evans and Erika Santoro at CNBC reminded me of his comments: Introducing: The Dentist Economic Indicator

Want to know how the economy’s doing? Ask your dentist.

That’s how we recently discovered one hopeful sign for the labor market: an increase in new dental patients. Our Manhattan-based dentist said he was seeing about three new patients a day in recent weeks, up from one or two on average last year.

The reason? More people with health insurance as a result of getting full-time jobs.

Manhattan, of course, is not exactly representative of the rest of the country. So we reached out to dentists across the country and heard much the same thing; while business isn’t exactly booming, there has been a noticeable increase in new patients coming through the door.
My guess is some people put off their regular check-ups during tough economic times, and then start back up again once they find a new job or are feeling better about their economic situation.