May 4th, 2012
Econintersect: Week 17 of 2012 ending 28 April 2012 shows rail traffic continued to contract over 2011 levels according to data released by the American Association of Railroads (AAR).
“Twelve of the 20 commodity categories tracked by the AAR saw carload gains in April 2012 compared with April 2011, including petroleum and petroleum products, up 11,376 carloads, or 43.1 percent; motor vehicle and parts, up 11,360 carloads, or 21.1 percent; crushed stone, gravel, and sand, up 6,617 carloads, or 9.3 percent, and steel and other primary metal products, up 3,297 carloads, or 8.1 percent.”
The pattern in the data is the same as it has been for over a two months. 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 to oil and natural gas - U.S. production of those are up sharply in recent months. This week rail growth was strongly positive when coal was removed from the calculation
|This week Year-over-Year||-4.1%||5.5%||-3.3%|
|This week without coal
|Year Cumulative to Date||-3.2%||2.8%||-2.4%|
Note that the total year-to-date traffic is contracting year-over-year.