The Atlantic

What RVs Say About the American Economy

Sales of mobile homes are a good data point for inferring the mood of consumers.

Source: Joe Raymond / AP

ELKHART, Ind.—Anyone despairing about the possibility of an economic slowdown may want to visit this county of 200,000 in northern Indiana for a boost.

Elkhart County is the capital of the recreational-vehicle (RV) industry, with 65 percent of all RVs made in the county, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association. And right now, the recreational vehicle industry is doing very, very well. “We’re going gangbusters,” Wes Bogan, marketing director of RV company Thor Motor Coach, told me on a tour of the factory where the vehicles are assembled. The RV industry predicts that 2017 will be a banner year

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