Waste and Scrap Carloads Correlate With Economic Growth (GDP), Weekly Chart Update

via Weekly Railfax
Track weekly North American rail traffic data and trends (via AAR) at railfax.transmatch.com. At the bottom they provide a chart of waste and scrap material carloads (4-week rolling average). According to this Bloomberg infographic, "shipments by train of waste and scrap have a higher correlation with economic growth than coal or copper". There's an 82% correlation between waste carloads and GDP.

"The correlation coefficient between carloads of waste and year-over-year growth in gross domestic product from the first quarter of 2001 through the same period of 2010 is 0.82, according to Bloomberg calculations." (Bloomberg)

The 2010-2011 waste and scrap chart just spiked and is matching the cyclical rise/fall from Q3-2009 to Q1-2010 (so far). When comparing waste and scrap shipments during Q2-2009 and Q2-2010, you can see the divergence, which accounted for the soft-patch in GDP growth during Q2-2010. Click on the chart above for a bigger view and watch this indicator going forward.

From CNN Money on 8/10/2010:

"NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The U.S. economy sputtered to a near stop in the second quarter, according to new estimates from the government released Friday, although the slowdown wasn't as bad as many had feared.

The nation's gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity, was revised sharply lower to an annual growth rate of 1.6% in the three months ending in June. The initial reading had been for a 2.4% growth rate in the period."

What about this statistic. Could the U.S. ship waste and scrap just to feed China's growth?

"According to data provided by the U.S. International Trade Commission, Chinese imports of U.S. cast-offs (scrap metal, waste paper, and the like) surged by an eye-popping 916 percent over the 2000-2008 period, with most of that expansion occurring after 2004." (US News

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