Another week another decline in rail freight data. As the mainstream media and the government focuses almost exclusively on the weakness of the financial sector and our banks I continue to look to the real economy for guidance. Unfortunately, today’s jobs data and rails data are clear signs that the U.S. economy is still incredibly weak and not recovering at all. This is not to imply that banks aren’t an important cog in the system, but the real driver of an economy is its people, not its banks. As I’ve said before, some people shower after work and some people shower before work. It’s the people who shower after work that really makes the economic wheels go round. On the week rail freight declined 1.5% and fell 20% year over year. The AAR said:
“Whenever Americans grow something, eat something, mine something, make something, turn on a light, or get dressed, freight railroads are probably involved somewhere along the line,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “Unfortunately, right now there’s not enough mining , manufacturing and buying going on. So railroads, like most other business sectors, are suffering because of it.”
Be careful listening to the green shoot theorists….