Start spraying those “green shoots” with some Weed-B-Gone. They are in fact weeds. The most recent rail data confirms the continuing trend that the real economy is seeing no real recovery. Intermodal traffic for the week ending June 24th was down a staggering 17.8% from the same period a year ago.
That’s an astounding decline for an economy that is supposedly in recovery mode. You would think that a huge rebound in commodity prices and economic activity would spur large gains in rail traffic, but it’s not translating into real strength in the data. Buy into the “green shoots” theories at your own risk. It’s just not being seen in the real economy. We are seeing the same results in other economically sensitive industries like trucking and air transports. We are also hearing similar stories from readers in the trenches.
Freight traffic on U.S. railroads remained down for the week ended June 20 compared with the same period last year, the Association of American Railroads reported today.
U.S railroads reported originating 261,717 cars, down 17.7 percent from the same week in 2008. Regionally, carloadings were down 11.9 percent in the West and 25.2 percent in the East.
Intermodal volume of 187,759 trailers or containers was down 17.8 percent from the same week last year. Container volume fell 12 percent and trailer volume dropped 39.0 percent.
Total volume on U.S. railroads for the week ending June 20 was estimated at 27.7 billion ton-miles, off 16.6 percent from the same week last year.
Eighteen of 19 carload freight commodity groups were down from last year, with declines ranging from 1.8 percent for farm products other than grain to 65.4 percent for metallic ores. The lone group showing an increase was the catch-all category labeled “all other carloads” which was up 11.9 percent.
Mr. Roche is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Discipline Funds.Discipline Funds is a low fee financial advisory firm with a focus on helping people be more disciplined with their finances.
He is also the author of Pragmatic Capitalism: What Every Investor Needs to Understand About Money and Finance, Understanding the Modern Monetary System and Understanding Modern Portfolio Construction.