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Increase in Cosmetic Surgery May Be a Signal of Economic Recovery

cosmetic surgery's relationship to the economyNew statistics show that cosmetic surgery procedures, including those that are non-surgical and surgical, were up 5 percent in 2010 compared to 2009, and this excited more than just the cosmetic surgery industry. Many on Wall Street are speculating that when cosmetic surgery is on the rise, it could signal the economy on a whole is on the rise too.

MSN Money noted that the new statistics, released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, are “yet one more indication that the economy is on the mend.”

Reuters reported that “while nose jobs and breast augmentations may never replace U.S. unemployment data or retail sales as economic indicators, investors pay attention.”

“Traders will look at all kinds of things. Handbag sales, how things are going at Tiffany’s, where people are going on vacation. This is another anecdote for them that helps confirm things are slowly picking up,” said Dennis Gartman, publisher of an investment commentary, referring to the release of the new statistics.

Although unemployment is still high, the rise in cosmetic surgery is a sign to some traders that spending on “big ticket” items is on its way back in the U.S.

“I like the thinking,” said Carl Larry, publisher of a daily report covering market fundamentals, who explained that traders use any piece of data they think can give them an edge. “It could very well be that we’re seeing more ‘off-road’ spending like this. Anything that is a big ticket item that has little to do with homes or retail is where the money seems to be going.”

“The pre-crisis trend of paying for a $6,000 to $7,000 breast augmentation operation on your credit card definitely changed in 2008 and 2009,” plastic surgeon Phil Haeck said. “Now many people have paid down their debts and have enough confidence in the economy to pay for operations again.”

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