Week Ending 19Nov2011: Rail Traffic Growth A Sign of an Improving Economy

November 25th, 2011
in econ_news

Econintersect: Weekly rail traffic growth year-over-year is slightly trending down - but the year-over-year growth is still better than GDP and most sectors of the economy. Rail traffic ends up being a leading indicator as it moves goods that will enter the economy weeks and months from now.

The latest data for week 46 of 2011 ending 19 November 2011, rail traffic grew 2.0% over the same week one year ago according to data provided by Railfax.

Follow up:

Rail performance up to June 2011 was growing 3% to 4%. From June through September, growth declined year to date for 2011 was in an overall downtrend which began in June when growth dropped below 3% to 4% year-over-year improvement on the four week trend line. In August and September, weekly rail traffic contracted 4 times year-over-year - but since October has again turned moderately positive.

In October, the short term trend has been improving and has now entered its old trend of the first half of 2011. This week the 4 week average shows year-over-year growth at 3.2%, up from 3.1% last week. Econintersect believes low growth year-over-year is an economic warning that a recession is possible.  Currently the trends are indicative of an improving economy.


Total US Rail Traffic

Major Commodity Groups Total Grain Chemicals Food Forest Metals Coal Autos Intermodal
Current Week
Vs. 2010 2.0% (12.0%) 5.2% (0.4%) 2.2% 3.8% (1.5%) 16.3% 3.0%
Vs. 2009 8.9% (9.7%) 10.0% (1.6%) 4.6% 30.8% 0.2% 2.1% 14.0%
4 Week Rolling Avg.
Vs. 2010 3.2% (11.7%) 3.9% (2.7%) 3.4% 8.2% 1.9% 14.7% 4.1%
Vs. 2009 11.7% (9.5%) 10.9% (3.0%) 6.5% 40.8% 5.0% 4.6% 16.7%
Quarter to Date
Vs. 2010 2.6% (13.8%) 4.7% (3.2%) 2.8% 7.4% 1.0% 12.9% 3.7%
Vs. 2009 12.3% (7.9%) 12.4% (3.6%) 6.7% 43.5% 5.0% 10.8% 17.1%
Year to Date
Vs. 2010 3.2% (2.0%) 4.8% (2.9%) 3.4% 8.4% (0.2%) 8.4% 5.2%
Vs. 2009 13.7% 9.6% 14.8% (0.3%) 7.3% 51.3% 0.2% 31.1% 20.3%


4 week rolling average:

 

source: Railfax









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