Weekly Rail Traffic Continues to Improve vs. 2009
The volume of U.S. rail traffic continues to register improvements over last year according to the American Association of Railroads, which reported yesterday that rail carloads for the week ending December 11 were above the same week last year by 10.2%, and intermodal trailers and containers were up by 14.1% (see graph above). Intermodal rail traffic has increased every week this year compared to 2009, and carload volume has increased every week since February (except for a holiday-related decrease in July). Year-to-date volumes for both measures of rail activity are above last year, by 14.3% for intermodal units and 7.1% for carloads. For rail carloads, all 19 commodity groups have registered gains year-to-date vs. 2009, with strong gains for metallic ores (92.5%), metals (46.4%), coke (23.2%), and motor vehicles (18.5%).
Judging by Warren Buffett's single most favorite economic indicator (weekly rail traffic), the U.S. economy continues to gain strength, as the volume of raw materials, natural resources, lumber, coal, grains, chemicals, metals, motor vehicles and paper products moving around the country by rail improves weekly.