Econintersect: Week 16 of 2012 ending 21 April 2012 shows rail traffic continued to contract over 2011 levels according to data released by the American Association of Railroads (AAR).
“Fourteen of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with petroleum products, up 48.3 percent; motor vehicles and equipment, up 32.9 percent, and primary forest products, up 22.8 percent. The groups showing a significant decrease in weekly traffic included farm products excluding grain, down 19 percent; grain, down 18 percent, and coal, down 16 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
|Week 11 2012||Carloads||Intermodal||Total|
|This week Year-over-Year||-3.6%||6.0%||-3.3%|
|This week without coal||6.0%|
|Year Cumulative to Date||-3.2%||2.6%||-2.4%|
Note that the total year-to-date traffic is contracting year-over-year.