Friday, June 04, 2010

Rail Traffic Reaches 18-Month High in May

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported yesterday that intermodal volume on U.S. freight railroads for the week ended May 29, 2010, reached its highest level since November 2008. Intermodal traffic was up 35.5% from last year and 10.3% from 2008. Unlike 2008 and 2009, Week 21 of 2010 did not include the Memorial Day holiday.  Highlights include:

1. Compared with the same week in 2009, container volume increased 37.5% while trailer volume rose 25.2%. In comparison to 2008, container volume was up 19.4 percent while trailer volume fell 23.3 percent.

2. U.S. railroads also originated 286,665 carloads during the week ended May 29, up 21.9% from the comparable week in 2009, but down 8.9% from 2008.

3. All 19 carload commodities increased from the comparable week in 2009 and three groups posted increases over 2008 levels. Farm products excluding grain posted the most significant increase, up 41.1 percent over 2008.

4. For the first 21 weeks of 2010, the cumulative volume of carloads for U.S. railroads was up 7.2% from 2009, but down 13.5% from 2008, and the volume of trailers and containers was up 11.5% percent from 2009, but down 7.3% from 2008.

5. Combined North American rail volume for the first 21 weeks of 2010 on U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads was up 10.2% from last year, and trailers and containers increased by 11.9% from last year.

14 Comments:

At 6/04/2010 8:15 AM, Anonymous morganovich said...

but how about that jobs number?

looking pretty ugly.

only 41k jobs added outside of the census. that's a horrible number.

US employers added 431,000 jobs to nonfarm payrolls in May, but 411,000 of those were temporary census workers. The private sector added just 41,000 jobs: Manufacturing, temporary help and mining added jobs, while construction declined. That number was also well short of the more than 500,000 economists had expected.

In May, the civilian labor force participation rate edged down by 0.2
percentage point to 65.0 percent.

 
At 6/04/2010 8:25 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

...intermodal volume on U.S. freight railroads for the week ended May 29, 2010, reached its highest level since November 2008. Intermodal traffic was up 35.5% from last year and 10.3% from 2008. Unlike 2008 and 2009, Week 21 of 2010 did not include the Memorial Day holiday.

When you compare activity with periods of great stress and economic contraction it is easy to make things look good. The bottom line is that activity is not as high as it was in 2008, even though the 2008 comparison period contained a holiday.

 
At 6/04/2010 8:28 AM, Anonymous morganovich said...

anyone got a theory on why container volume is growing so much more than trailer volume?

 
At 6/04/2010 10:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Increased Rail Traffic Means Continued High Unemployment

The basic business model in the US today is layoff workers dismantle the machinery ship it to China import product and sell to those who still have jobs. That model requires more shipping to transport product from the ports to the consumer.

Before free trade production was often positioned to minimize transportation costs. Picture your market as a circle of uniform customer distribution. All other things being equal you would minimize transportation cost by putting production at the center of the circle. When you outsource product comes into the market somewhere on the circumference and must be shipped from there. That is the worst possible location for transportation costs. Railroads are doing well because jobs are leaving the country.

 
At 6/04/2010 10:45 AM, Anonymous gettingrational said...

Anon., I agree with sentiment about jobs leaving for China and this is terrible. International trade does mean more intermodal rail traffic BUT so does U.S. Department of Transportation policy. "Recent DOT policy is focusing on a last mile policy with the goal of getting as many trucks off the road as possible." Rail traffic goes two ways and the Export direction is gaining momentum with hopeful sustainability.

 
At 6/04/2010 12:33 PM, Blogger brodero said...

What am I missing?? despite the
weak private payroll number weekly
hourly earnings went from 767.25 to
771.89 a 7.7% annualized rate...
average weekly hours went up..
looks like aggregate numbers will
be decent it just that the unemployed got nothing....those employed got more hours and higher pay...

 
At 6/04/2010 1:46 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

What am I missing??

You are missing the next part.

despite the weak private payroll number...

The private sector is not creating many new jobs. The new health care bill will cause many people to lose their coverage. While they may wind up getting a few bucks more in their pay they will wind up paying more out of pocket for their own health care premiums and deductibles.

For a recovery to be real you need to see the public sector shed jobs while the private sector adds them, not the other way around.

 
At 6/04/2010 9:30 PM, Anonymous grant said...

ANON 10:15.
"the basic business model in the US today is layoff workers dismantle the machinery and ship it to China"

Yep! And they bought the plant for almost nothing after they competed with the company and busted it.

Seth:
Why don't you go to China and teach the Chinese workers your labor and employment theories.
The commies will love them.I wonder how many will disappear for expressing their new beliefs.

 
At 6/04/2010 10:00 PM, Anonymous grant said...

Anon 10.15:
If jobs are leaving the country then what is being shipped on the railroads. Does anyone have details on this please,or a source.

Morganovich:
Maybe they are using the containers because they can be loaded at the consigners premises and trucked to the railhead for shipment.
Insurance costs may play a role as well.
Wouldn't the trailers need to be loaded at the rail freight yard and incur considerably more handling off site.

 
At 6/05/2010 12:53 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

>"Maybe they are using the containers because they can be loaded at the consigners premises and trucked to the railhead for shipment."

Just like trailers.

>"Wouldn't the trailers need to be loaded at the rail freight yard and incur considerably more handling off site."

Grant no, not likely. Trailers often travel by railroad.

The only difference between containers and trailers, is that containers may continue their travels on a ship, while trailers won't. Increases in container shipments may indicate higher exports.

 
At 6/05/2010 1:01 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

VangelV said...

"For a recovery to be real you need to see the public sector shed jobs while the private sector adds them, not the other way around."

Then apparently, I've never seen a real recovery, as I've never seen the public sector shed jobs.

 
At 6/05/2010 4:02 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Then apparently, I've never seen a real recovery, as I've never seen the public sector shed jobs.

You have because the private sector has added jobs much faster than the public sector. That is not happening now. What we have is the private sector contracting as the growth in the public sector uses up more and more of the available resources.

 
At 6/05/2010 5:18 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"You have because the private sector has added jobs much faster than the public sector. That is not happening now."

I agree 100%, but I guess I would stop short of calling that "shedding". rapidly decreasing public sector employment has been one of my fondest dreams, but I've never seen it.

There seem to be only two states of public sector employment: static and increasing.

In my entire life I have seen government grow slowly, and grow rapidly, but never shrink.

 
At 6/05/2010 8:02 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

I agree 100%, but I guess I would stop short of calling that "shedding". rapidly decreasing public sector employment has been one of my fondest dreams, but I've never seen it.

There seem to be only two states of public sector employment: static and increasing.

In my entire life I have seen government grow slowly, and grow rapidly, but never shrink.


I agree. During our lives the West has fallen in the progressives trap and has chosen to believe in the fairytale of 'good government.' Such a journey always ends in tears with a collapse of the entire system. Sadly, the US right has been as damaging, if not more than the left and has chosen to keep expanding government. That is why the taxpayers are in revolt and have gone after all incumbents, regardless of which end of the spectrum they stand. If the electorate smartens up it will choose the path preferred by libertarians but it is looking more and more as if it will choose the totalitarian route.

 

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