The rapid decline in rail volumes continued this week as the real economy continues to shrug off the green shoots theory. AAR reports:
WASHINGTON, May 28, 2009 — Freight traffic on U.S. railroads during the week ended May 23 remained down in comparison with last year, although it did show an increase from the previous week this year, the Association of American Railroads reported today.
U.S. railroads originated 259,265 cars during the week, down 21.5 percent from the comparison week in 2008, but up 4.9 percent from the previous week this year. In comparison with last year, loadings were down 16.4 percent in the West and 28.0 percent in the East.
All 19 carload commodity groups were down from last year, with declines ranging from 4.8 percent for farm products other than grain to 59.7 percent for metallic ores.
Intermodal volume of 188,885 trailers or containers was off 19.1 percent from last year, with container volume down 14.2 percent and trailer traffic off 37.2 percent. Intermodal volume was up 0.2 percent from the previous week this year.
Total volume was estimated at 27.4 billion ton-miles, off 20.3 percent from 2008, but up 4.6 percent from the previous week this year.
As I’ve been saying for months there is almost no chance the economy can be in the early stages of recovery when such economically sensitive industries are so extraordinarily weak.