The Latest Recession Signal Flashing: RV Sales

August 26, 2019

The strongest warning of an impending recession may not be the yield curve or global manufacturing. It may be how things are going in Elkhart, Indiana. The capital of the country’s recreational vehicle industry, this city in northern Indiana is closely watched by economists.

The Wall Street Journal reports that shipments of RVs have fallen 20 percent this year, following a 4 percent drop last year. The report notes that multi-year drops in RV shipments have preceded the last three recessions. In fact, economist Michael Hicks is quoted in the piece saying that “the RV industry is better at calling recessions than economists are.” Weakening consumer demand and increased prices due to tariffs have hurt the industry, and, if the pattern continues, could have larger implications for the economy.

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