Rail freight is showing the same robustness as the ISM reports in recent months. According to the AAR, rail traffic for the week ending February 28th was higher across the board. Total carloads jumped to 290,261 – up 2.6% versus last year. Intermodal traffic surged 17.5% versus 2009. This data, however, remains a bit misleading as year over year comps remain very easy. When compared to 2008 total carloads were down 13.5% while intermodal traffic was off 8.1%. This shows that there is still substantial work to be done before the economy has returned to its pre-credit crisis levels. Nonetheless, the robust year over year improvement is an encouraging sign for the state of the real economy.