The recent mixed rail data continued today with a weekly decline in carloads and a rise in intermodal volumes. Carloads were off 5% year over year while intermodal was up 3.1%. The 10 week moving average fell to 3.3% down just slightly from last week. All in all, the trend has become one that points to a weak, but modestly expanding economy. The AAR has more details on this week’s data:
“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending May 19, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 280,565 carloads, down 5 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 241,664 trailers and containers, up 3.1 percent compared with the same week last year.
Twelve of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with petroleum products, up 49.4 percent; motor vehicles and equipment, up 23.3 percent, and lumber and wood products, up 17.9 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included nonmetallic minerals, down 16.3 percent; coal, down 16.1 percent, and coke, down 8.6 percent.
Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was down 4.5 percent compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was down 5.3 percent compared with the same week in 2011.
For the first 20 weeks of 2012, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 5,627,959 carloads, down 3.4 percent from the same point last year, and 4,595,071 trailers and containers, up 2.8 percent from last year.”