Ongoing Rail Traffic Gains Reflect Consistent Economic Expansion; No Signs of a Double-Dip
Warren Buffett's single most favorite economic indicator - weekly rail traffic - continues to reflect healthy economic activity, based on the volume of raw materials, natural resources, metals, motor vehicles, chemicals and basic raw inputs moving around the country (and Canada and Mexico). From today's American Association of Railroads report:
1. U.S. railroads originated 300,521 carloads for the week ending August 20, 2011, up 1.1 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 238,680 trailers and containers, up 1 percent compared with the same week last year (see chart above).
2. For individual commodity groups, gains in shipping activity year-to-date are led by metallic ores (27.4%), metals and products (10.2%), motor vehicles and equipment (7.1%), and iron and steel scrap (6.9%).
3. For the first 33 weeks of 2011, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 9,531,017 carloads, up 2 percent from the same point last year, and 7,461,628 trailers and containers, up 6.3 percent from last year.