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RV Industry A Barometer for the U.S. Economy

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March 31, 2010 by   Leave a Comment

Big moves in the RV industry are pointing to encouraging signs for the overall economy, according to WSJV-TV, Elkhart, Ind.

Over the past two months, wholesale RV shipments have doubled from this time last year. Economists say this could be an indicator of an economic recovery.

Grant Black, an economist at Indiana University-South Bend, says the RV industry acts as a barometer for the economy.

“History has shown that the RV industry has been a pretty good indicator of where the general economy is going. It leads the activity,” says Black.

When the industry started slipping back in 2007, the rest of the economy tanked shortly after. Over the past few months, numbers show the RV industry is coming back. Black says if history repeats itself, it could be a leading indicator of an economic recovery. He says the U.S. economy usually follows suit in about six months.

“I wouldn’t say we are ready to have a party, but I would say things are looking better than we thought it would,” says Sid Johnson, marketing director for Jayco Inc. in Middlebury, Ind.

Johnson says two years ago, his company fell on tough times. They had to shut down plants, cancel programs and let employees go. He says things are about to change.

“There’s a demand in the marketplace, so all these things combined have created some good orders for the RV manufacturers,” says Johnson.

While he says they’re not out of the red, they are moving up.

“We had to do some painful things the past few years and I think most of us are grateful conditions are better,” says Johnson.

Johnson says they just announced they’re re-opening a facility in Topeka, Ind., they closed down in 2008. They’ve also started hiring back hundreds of employees they had to furlough last year.

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