Week Ending 24Dec2011: Rail Traffic Growth Surge Continues

December 29th, 2011
in econ_news

Econintersect: Weekly rail traffic growth year-over-year remains solid - not only outperforming other weak segments of the economy, but also trending up. 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 51 of 2011 ending 24 December 2011, rail traffic grew 16.4% over the same week one year ago according to data provided by Railfax.

This is a huge jump in growth, with strength in most commodities transported.  

Follow up:

Rail performance up to June 2011 was growing 3% to 4%. From June through September 2011, the growth rate declined. In August and September, weekly rail traffic contracted 4 times year-over-year - but since October has again turned moderately positive.

This week the 4 week average shows year-over-year growth at 7.6%, up massively from 4.8% last week. Rail traffic usually contracts through the end of the year - but is surging in 2011. Econintersect believes low growth year-over-year is a sign of a weak economy. The current strengthening growth is definitely not indicating a weakening economy.

Total US Rail Traffic

Major Commodity Groups Total Grain Chemicals Food Forest Metals Coal Autos Intermodal
Current Week
Vs. 2010 16.4% (1.9%) 18.2% 10.8% 9.5% 14.9% 7.5% 23.2% 22.9%
Vs. 2009 48.5% 39.4% 41.4% 15.5% 29.2% 60.1% 45.3% 40.3% 53.8%
4 Week Rolling Avg.
Vs. 2010 7.6% (7.9%) 5.6% 1.1% 6.4% 11.9% 6.6% 19.8% 8.0%
Vs. 2009 20.2% 1.1% 18.7% 0.9% 15.4% 39.5% 17.4% 14.3% 22.6%
Quarter to Date
Vs. 2010 4.3% (11.2%) 4.9% (1.6%) 3.8% 9.1% 2.7% 16.7% 5.1%
Vs. 2009 14.7% (5.3%) 14.1% (2.1%) 9.6% 43.0% 8.8% 11.4% 18.7%
Year to Date
Vs. 2010 3.6% (2.5%) 4.9% (2.5%) 3.6% 8.7% 0.3% 9.7% 5.4%
Vs. 2009 14.2% 8.5% 15.0% (0.2%) 7.9% 50.3% 1.5% 28.8% 20.4%

4 week rolling average:

 

Source: Railfax









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