GDP and Trash Production Indicate Downturn Ahead


This graph shows the relationship between rail carloads of trash and GDP. It’s not a leading indicator, but seems to be a coincident indicator if not slightly trailing. The trash data includes all garbage–demolitions, home trash, industrial garbage, and most other waste.┬áThe great advantage is that rail car data comes out weekly, while GDP comes out one month after the quarter ends, so there is a substantial lag.

As can clearly be seen in the rail data, the change in trash loads has dropped nearly 30% with a similar degree of severity as the 2008 recession, which fell more than 40% at its peak. If this is any indication, the 2nd quarter GDP figures may be down.


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