We don’t need the Federal Reserve Bank chairwoman to tell us about economic indicators; we have our own way of knowing at the Michigan High School Athletic Association office when the state’s economy is bad or good.
In bad economic times, we experience an increase in those registering to become MHSAA officials. When jobs are lost or hours are cut, a little extra income from officiating can make a big difference to people.
In good economic times, we see a decline in the number of registrations. We lose the officials who are in it for the money and retain the 10,000 hard core, committed officials whom school sports depends on in Michigan.
Another economic indicator is litigation. In bad economic times, fewer people resort to courts to solve disputes; while in good economic times, more people have more money to spend on lawyers to settle their squabbles.
So, what do those indicators tell us about today’s economic news?
Officials registrations in 2015-16 were the lowest in 29 years. And 2015-16 was the busiest year of litigation since 2010.
So, the good news is that the economy is improving. That’s also the bad news.