Week Ending 07April2012: Rail Traffic Now Contracting Even Ignoring Coal

April 12th, 2012
in econ_news

Econintersect: Week 14 of 2012 ending 07 April 2012 shows rail traffic continued to contract over 2011 levels according to data released by the American Association of Railroads (AAR).

“Nine of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with petroleum products, up 33.3 percent; primary forest products, up 11.8 percent, and stone, clay and glass products, up 11.2 percent. The groups showing a significant decrease in weekly traffic included iron, steel and scrap, down 18.1; grain, down 16.6, and coal, down 16.1 percent. ”

Follow up:

The pattern in the data is the same as it has been for over a month. The majority of the reason for the contraction is coal movements - which would only effect the profitability of railroads, and not really an economic indicator as coal is an alternative fuel. HOWEVER, even removing coal carloads have contracted 1.0% year-over-year - if this persists, it is an economic warning.


Week 11 2012 Carloads Intermodal Total
This week Year-over-Year -7.7% 1.1% -7.2%
This week without coal
Year Cumulative to Date -2.9% 2.4% -2.1%



Note that the total year-to-date traffic is contracting year-over-year.

Steven Hansen

Source: AAR

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