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. The 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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