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Leading article: Rising trend

As we emerge from the global recession, the Government is always eager to pounce on any indicator that shows the economy is on the mend. There are many to choose from – growth, inflation, exports, employment among them – but these have all proved disappointingly limp in recent months.

To discover evidence of the green shoots of recovery perhaps it is time to study a less traditional metric which is showing some pleasingly vigorous growth.

Big Hair is back. Newspapers and magazines are currently filled with photographs of female celebrities – Cheryl Cole and Sarah Jessica Parker in the vanguard – with vertiginous bouffant hairdos.

Skirt length has often been observed as a predictor of stock market prices – hem lines and bear markets always seem to rise together – so the trend for Big Hair seems to be associated with rising consumer confidence, as well as the Big Bang Eighties. Perhaps Samantha Cameron should get some hairspray and start back-combing now.