Consumer spending, housing starts, inventories -- there's no shortage of economic indicators. If you tuned in to Bloomberg Radio this morning, you may have learned of one that's not as well known.
A guest on the program, Lakshman Achuthan, managing director of the Economic Cycle Research Institute, was asked about animal fat as an economic indicator.
Achuthan explained that animal fat is rendered into tallow, which is used for production of soaps and lubricants and is among the components in the JOC-ECRI Industrial Price Index published weekly in the Journal of Commerce.
The JOC-ECRI index, based on a broad assortment of raw materials used in industrial production, for many years has been an accurate indicator of economic trends.
The index correctly predicted the recession and in recent months has signaled economic recovery by indicating demand for key commodities. Though the index dipped slightly this month, it has followed a generally upward trend for more than a year.