I will think of a better name for this blog one of these days.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Interesting Sign of Economic Recovery

I work in the FPD industry. To call business slow would be a huge understatement. Although, recently it has been picking up. And as a whole the Taiwan economy is picking up as well.

I occasionally ride the Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) train. These trains are fast. They top out at 300 km/h and takes about one and a half hour to get from the top of Taiwan to almost the very bottom (Taipei <-> Zuoying). Which roughly the distance between NYC and Washington D.C.

When the THSR service started a few years ago, like everyone else I was like WOW! After every business trip I'd think to myself "I can't believe I'm home already!" Fast forward to now and I've already taken it for granted. The rides feel like forever. Now, I'm complaining how there's no personal video screens, no music, no internet. . .

Reminds me of the video clip below:

Last week while riding the THSR to a customer site I noticed something very special.
The old ladies are back!
Let me explain. You basically only see two types of service people on the trains. Flight attendants which are usually young attractive girls, and garbage collectors which are usually older ladies. When business is slow, as it usually is in a recession, they layoff the garbage collectors and make the flight attendants collect the garbage. Conversely, when business picks up they hire back the old ladies and let the flight attendants do what they do best. . . look pretty and push those overpriced refreshment carts.

So. . .
Young ladies picking up garbage = Taiwan's economy doing bad.

Old ladies picking up garbage = Taiwan's economy is recovering.

1 comment:

Cathy said...

Confirming your observation, on my yahoo I saw this article about Taiwan's improving stock market.

Instead of all the gibberish about financial markets and monetary policy, they should have just said the ladies picking up garbage on the high speed rail are getting less attractive and everyone would have understood instantly that things are looking up in Taiwan. BTW do the pretty girls who sell snacks talk like they're 10 years old? What would that tell us about the GDP and consumer confidence?