The Mailman Index of Economic Indicators

The Mailman Index of Economic Indicators

How much does your mailman know about your financial health? Quite a bit, as discovered by National Public Radio’s Chana Joffe-Walt on a recent ride-along.

If you live in a neighborhood hard hit by the financial crisis, chances are your mailman is seeing a spike in overdraft letters, collection notices, and overdue utility bills. Another bad sign: more names on fewer mailboxes — a hint that families and friends are doubling up to save money.
Your mailman is probably also seeing a drop-off in the number of unsolicited credit card offers as the credit crisis deepens.

That’s also bad news for your mailman. The overall volume of mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service fell 5.5 percent for the third quarter of 2008, due in large part to the economic slowdown, with further shrinkage predicted in coming months. That’s driven down U.S.P.S. revenues enough that the service is considering laying off workers for the first time in its history.

They forgot to mention begging letters from every charity you ever donated to and many you haven’t.

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