posted on 02 April 2015
Econintersect: Week 12 of 2015 shows same week total rail traffic (from same week one year ago) again declined according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) traffic data. Intermodal traffic, which accounts for half of movements, is now strongly growing year-over-year - but weekly railcar counts remain in contraction. Rail traffic is surprisingly weak.
The AAR contibuted to this soft data by defining week 1 of 2015 as week 53 of 2014 which put comparable weeks one off the correct week.
This analysis is looking for clues in the rail data to show the direction of economic activity - and is not necessarily looking for clues of profitability of the railroads. The weekly data is fairly noisy, and the best way to view it is to look at the rolling averages which generally are in a weak growth cycle.
A summary of the data from the AAR:
Coal is over 1/3 of the total railcar count, and this week is 10.0% lower than the production estimate in the comparable week in 2014. The middle row in the table below removes coal and grain from the changes in the railcar counts as neither of these commodities is economically intuitive.
[click on graph below to enlarge]
Current Rail Chart:
For the week ended March 28, 2015:
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