Cardboard Boxes Among Many Indicators for Fed

The Federal Reserve took a cautious path Tuesday, lowering interest rates by a quarter-point — less than what many were hoping for. The move may indicate that the economy is not as soft as some thought.

The Fed's economists look at all kinds of indicators; a particularly well-known one is the demand for cardboard boxes, which seems to be holding up just fine.

As funny as it may sound, cardboard can help understand how the whole economy is doing. That's because just about everything we buy spends some time in a cardboard box. So, if the economy is doing well — if people are buying a lot — then the cardboard industry does well. If the economy is tanking, then cardboard tanks. It's like an index of cardboard indicators.

One major box manufacturer — President Container, a 60-year-old cardboard box maker in northern New Jersey — supports the Fed's decision.

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