Waffle House Index
Unlike the other indicators on this list, the so-called "Waffle House Index" has less nuance to it. Rather, it's more of a binary signal after a catastrophic event, like a hurricane or tornado. The chain of restaurants is notorious for operating even after disasters. As the Wall Street Journal reported after Hurricane Irene moved up the East Coast in 2011, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate sees Waffle Houses as a sign of how hard-hit a community might be. "If you get there and the Waffle House is closed? That's really bad. That's where you go to work," he has said.