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Imagine having your hands in so many industries that it’s possible to point to specific first-hand references when speaking of the nation’s economic condition—right down to the sale of machinery parts.

So it goes with Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. While interviewed on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Buffett says he first noticed an economic slowdown when Berkshire’s business of “little tiny punching tools or cutting tools” (called ISCAR Metalworking) fell off, signaling a decline in manufacturing.

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