The Fix: GDP

What garbage can tell us about the direction of the economy — in 1 chart

It turns out that what we throw out or, more accurately, how much we throw out, tells us a lot about the general economic direction of the country.

At least, that is, according to calculations by economist Michael McDonough, who has produced an absolutely fascinating chart that shows the remarkable correlation between carloads of waste (as calculated by the American Association of Railroads) and the U.S. gross domestic product.

Here’s McDonough’s chart (and you can read more about his methodology here):

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