The White Paint Recovery : Planet Money The White Paint Index -- yes, economists pay attention to it.

The White Paint Recovery

Tom Sawyer's very own economic indicator. Musebrarian/flickr hide caption

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Some positive news from the folks over at the Globe and Mail. According to one little-known economic indicator, the white paint index, we're on the way to recovery.

Economists track the price of a key ingredient in white paint, titanium dioxide. The price of titanium dioxide took a huge plunge back in January, and companies that make white paint have been cutting back production because of the recession. Over the past three months, the price has been falling, but at a progressively slower pace. Titanium dioxide prices fell 4.6 percent over the year in June, compared to a 5.1 percent drop for the year in May. Economists think that the price of white paint will begin to rise within the coming months, going along with a broader economic recovery.

White paint is used by a huge slew of industries -- including the automotive sector, in the construction of skyscrapers, and, of course, by adolescent boys painting fences. One economist calls it the "durable-good pigment" because it's used in the creation of so many products.