More Economic Indicators: Animal Abandonment, Backyard Gardens, Cancelled EZ Pass

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How do you know the economy isn’t doing so hot? Your waitress is really hot, for one thing. Also, there’s a decline in the production of boxes meant to hold cereal, toothpaste, or beer. People are planting gardens to cut down on their food bills. Animal shelters are overwhelmed with pets dropped off by folks whose homes are in foreclosure.

The NY Times reports on a bunch of offbeat indicators, including the scene at animal shelters; the Arizona Humane Society, for example, says that animal abandonment doubled in 2008 and is increasing this year as well. The Times also points to the growth of backyard gardens and a spike in movie attendance as curious indicators, which jibes with a Cheapskate post about what sells well during a recession, including romance novels, fast food, and condoms.

Meanwhile, the Baltimore Sun reports that the Maryland Transportation Authority had to hire more workers to handle the dramatic increase in people seeking to cancel their EZ Pass accounts. Over the summer, account closures were eight times the normal average. This was due largely because of a recently introduced $1.50 monthly charge. But something tells me the number of cancellation requests wouldn’t be quite so high if the economy was faring better.