Our friend Michael McDonough of Bloomberg Brief has been uncovering a lot of interesting data points and charts (that’s why you should follow him on twitter). The latest interesting chart is, literally, a “rubbish” indicator. Shipments by trains of waste and scrap has very high correlation with GDP growth according to Michael McDonough et al.
If this indicator pointed to sharp recovery of the US economy after the financial crisis, it is now pointing to sharp contraction. The chart below shows waste carloads and GDP growth. As you can see, it is now pointing to sharp contraction in economic activities.