I’m not sure where this economic “recovery” is occurring but it sure as heck isn’t occurring in the real economy. Rail data was another disaster this week with intermodal traffic off almost 20%. The AAR reports:
WASHINGTON, May 21, 2009 — Freight traffic on U.S. railroads continued to reflect a weak economy as traffic remained down in comparison with last year during the week ended May 16, the Association of American Railroads reported today.
U.S. railroads originated 247,258 cars during the week, down 25.3 percent from the comparison week in 2008, with loadings down 21.2 percent in the West and 30.9 percent in the East.
All 19 carload commodity groups were down from last year, with declines ranging from 10.2 percent for the grain mill products to 69.5 percent for metallic ores.
Intermodal volume of 188,435 trailers or containers was off 19.4 percent from last year, with container volume down 14.1 percent and trailer traffic off 39.1 percent.
Total volume was estimated at 26.2 billion ton-miles, off 24.3 percent from 2008.
As the chart shows, the declines in rail traffic are pretty staggering. With such an economically sensitive group on the ropes its hard to continue arguing that the economy is recovering.
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.