What cardboard can tell us about the economy - The Hustle
Turns out that the cardboard box you just body-slammed into a recycling bin also happens to be an interesting gauge of economic conditions.
During the pandemic, a pivot in consumer demand from services to goods helped push box prices by some 55%.
Industry leaders adjusted production capacity to meet demand. Now, though, like boxes, the economy is lying flat, and less material appears to be needed.
According to reporting from FreightWaves:
In a recent call to investors, the Packaging Corporation of America said inflation, rising interest rates, a shift from goods back to services, and a cooler housing market have all dampened box demand.
The good news is, despite the slump, the Packaging Corporation of America expects shipments for Q1 2023 to be 6% higher than the same period in 2019.