The latest rail data from the AAR continues to reflect the weak economy. Despite today’s stimulus boosted GDP, the real economy continues to flounder. Total intermodal traffic came in at 207,401 trailers. This was a marginal increase from last week’s reading, a 10.1% decline from last year and a 14.5% decline from 2007. Of course, it’s important to note that the figures are year over year so bear in mind that this data is actually worse than the same period last year when the economy was seen melting down. The weekly and monthly data is certainly showing some signs of improvement of the March lows. The AAR reports.:
WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 29, 2009 — The Association of American Railroads today reported that rail traffic remains down year over year for the week ended Oct. 24, 2009. U.S railroads reported originating 276,357 carloads, down 14.8 percent compared with the same week in 2008 and 17.3 percent from 2007. It was around this time last year notable declines in rail carloads and rail intermodal traffic showed the first significant signs of the nation’s economic downturn. Therefore, the AAR will be reporting 2009 weekly rail traffic with year over comparisons for both 2008 and 2007 going forward.
In the West, carloads were down 14.8 percent compared with the same week last year, and 15.8 percent compared with 2007. In the East, carloads were down 14.8 compared with 2008, and 19.4 percent compared with the same week in 2007.
Intermodal traffic totaled 207,401 trailers or containers, down 10.1 percent from a year ago and 14.5 percent from 2007. Compared with the same week last year, container volume fell 3.6 percent and trailer volume dropped 34.7 percent. Compared with the same week in 2007, container volume fell 7.4 percent and trailer volume dropped 40.1 percent.
While 17 of the 19 carload freight commodity groups were down from the same week last year, grain mill products were up 9.6 percent and grain was up 6.2 percent compared with the same week in 2008. Declines in commodity groups ranged from 1.9 percent for chemicals to 66.1 percent for metallic ores.
Total volume on U.S. railroads for the week ending October 24, 2009 was estimated at 31.1 billion ton-miles, down 13.4 percent compared with the same week last year and 11.1 percent from 2007.
For the first 42 weeks of 2009, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 11,207,180 carloads, down 18 percent from 2008 and 18.3 percent from 2007; 7,969,780 trailers or containers, down 16.4 percent from 2008 and 18.3 percent from 2007, and total volume of an estimated 1.2 trillion ton-miles, down 17.1 percent from 2008 and 15 percent from 2007.
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.