Thursday, May 20, 2010

America's Moving Again: Rail Traffic Last Week Reached The Highest Level Since Fall 2008

From today's Association of American Railroads report:

"Intermodal volume on U.S. freight railroads for the week ended May 15, 2010, reached its highest level since the 47th week of 2008. Carloadings last week also saw gains, with 18 of 19 commodity groups showing increases from the comparable week in 2009.  U.S. railroads originated 290,263 carloads during the week ended May 15, up 16.6 percent from the comparable week in 2009, but down 11.9 percent from 2008. 

Intermodal traffic totaled 218,206 trailers and containers, up 15.2 percent from last year but down 6.7 percent from 2008. Compared with the same week in 2009, container volume increased 16.8 percent while trailer volume rose 6.9 percent. Compared with the same week in 2008, container volume was up 0.8 percent while trailer volume fell 34.6 percent.

Of the 18 carload commodity groups showing increases from last year, 14 experienced significant percentage gains, led by a 140.9 percent increase in loadings of metallic ores. Loadings of metals were up 82.9 percent, coke jumped 49 percent and waste and scrap rose 31.1 percent. Other notable increases included motor vehicles, up 59 percent; crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 20.1 percent; grain up 14.8 percent; chemicals, up 12.1 percent; and coal, up 9.5 percent. Pulp, paper and allied products each declined by 2.8 percent."


At 5/20/2010 2:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so glad I have this site to tell me how great the economy is doing. With u3 unemployment at 9.9 percent, u6 at 17.1, and new claims for unemployment benefits up 25,000, to 471,000 it is easy to get confused. But, thanks to this site I know trade deficits, debt to foreign countries, dependence of foreign sources for oil, and job outsourcing are good things making our economy strong. Where else could I gain such enlightenment?

At 5/20/2010 3:23 PM, Anonymous Dave Hayes said...

Jeez Anonymous,

No one is saying that everything is chmapagne and caviar but the economy is improving at a faster than expected rate.

Why is good news so difficult to believe?

You shouldn't be mocking this blog for reporting the indicators of recovery as much as you should be asking why aren't we hearing more about this elsewhere.

At 5/20/2010 4:48 PM, Anonymous morganovich said...


that would be a more credible argument if this blog was not so selective with its data. (like today's unemployment oddly not being mentioned)

what makes you say "faster than expected"? all the recent data has been worse than expected (GDP, unemployment, jobless claims, philly manufacturing survey, new york manufacturing etc.)

down 6.7% from 2008 is not good news.

At 5/20/2010 6:20 PM, Blogger Craig said...

Given recent drops in commodity prices and continued unemployment filings, I have to wonder if rail shipments aren't a lagging indicator. They do represent future consumption, of course, but they also reflect, in large part, past production.

Just sayin'.

At 5/20/2010 6:47 PM, Anonymous Luzhin Defence said...

"Faster than expected rate"

Where do you get this nonsense? Robert Gibbs?

The economy is in shambles. Delinquency rates are at record highs and rising. Bankruptcies are at record highs and rising. Almost 800 banks are on the problem bank list. House price growth has flattened. Initial unemployment claims are hung up. Unemployment remains high and the underutilization rate is even higher. Residential and commercial construction are at record lows and there's no construction recovery expected for years. China's bubble is about to burst and Europe is going down the toilet. Most of our state governments are in financial crisis.

All the "activity" you see is the Broken Window Fallacy and deficit spending at play. Neither is a sign of recovery.

The stock market was so overjoyed about the positive news it decided to plunge 4% today, wiping out all the gains thus far in 2010 and more.

At 5/20/2010 8:37 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Good news does not come in long, unbroken streaks.
Right now (Europe excepted) we are getting mostly good news most of the time.
It's a bad week, but really, restructuring Greek and Portugal debt won't wreck the world economy.

I wish Dr. Perry would work on one thing: Right now, the way we try to get a country to become "austere" also involves shrinking its economy. Then it has to pay down debt from a smaller GDP.

If I want to pay down debt, I want to work more, produce more, and pay down debt out of greater GDP.

So many problems for Dr. Perry to solve.

At 5/20/2010 10:36 PM, Blogger grant said...

The US has become a service economy which means workers have been directed away from stable responsible long term jobs to low paying jobs in service industries.

List of lowest paying jobs earning $18.000 to $20.000;-
ushers, lobby attendants,ticket sellers,farm,workers,laborers,pickers,greenhouse workers,amusement and recreation attendants,coffee shop servers,waiters,cashiers,counter attendants,bar tender helpers, shampooers,dishwashers,fast food cooks,sandwich makers,food serving,dining room attendants,


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