Econintersect: Week 25 of 2012 ending 23 June 2012 shows same week rail traffic exceeded 2011 levels according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR). This growth last happened in February 2012.
Excluding coal which is not an economic indicator, rail is expanding 2.7% (last week's reported 2.4%) same week year-over-year.
“Eleven of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with petroleum products, up 51.4 percent; motor vehicles and equipment, up 27.8 percent, and lumber and wood products, up 17.1 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included metallic ore, down 29.3 percent, and iron and steel scrap, down 14.2 percent. ”
A good background article on the switch of the power generating plants from coal to natural gas was published 30May2012 in the NYT. The week before GEI News had reported on the decline in coal usage over the past year.
The majority of the reason for rail year-to-date contraction is coal movements - which would only effect the profitability of railroads, and not 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 Year-over-Year||1.4%||4.8%||2.8%|
|This week without coal
|Year Cumulative to Date||-2.8%||3.2%||-2.0%|
Total (cumulative) year-to-date traffic is contracting year-over-year.