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Correlations: Skyscraper Index

Sometimes a skyscraper is not just a skyscraper, at least to economists who see them as harbingers of downturns. The Skyscraper Index measures the correlation between the world’s tallest building and the business cycle. The theory, first proposed in 1999 by Dresdner Kleinwort analyst Andrew Lawrence, is that construction of the world’s tallest building is usually completed right before an economic downturn. The Empire State Building went up early in the Great Depression, and the World Trade Center was completed on the eve of a recession.

Raskin is a reporter for Bloomberg News. Follow him on Twitter @maxraskin.
Deal is a contributing graphics editor for Bloomberg Businessweek.
Applegate is a contributing graphics editor for Bloomberg Businessweek. Follow him on Twitter @evanapplegate.

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