Thursday, August 25, 2011

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.

4. For the first 33 weeks of 2011, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 2,449,585 carloads, up 2.7 percent from the same point last year, and 1,564,448 trailers and containers, up 2 percent from last year.

5. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 33 weeks of 2011 was 472,817 carloads, up 4.9 percent compared with the same point last year, and 267,267 trailers and containers, up 25.4 percent.

5. Combined North American rail volume for the first 33 weeks of 2011 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 12,453,419 carloads, up 2.3 percent compared with the same point last year, and 9,293,343 trailers and containers, up 6 percent compared with last year.

MP: The gradual, but ongoing increases in rail activity in the U.S., Canada and Mexico reflect a gradual, but consistent expansion of economic activity.  Compared to the first three weeks of  August two years ago as the economic recovery was just underway, rail traffic so far this month is 6.6% higher for carloads and almost 22% higher for intermodal containers.  There certainly is absolutely no indication at all from weekly rail traffic that we're heading for a double-dip recession.  

4 Comments:

At 8/25/2011 4:27 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

If that economic activity continues to increase, Obama will be a shoo-in.

 
At 8/25/2011 9:54 PM, OpenID yngvar said...

Maybe it's just higher gas prices making rail more competitive.

 
At 8/26/2011 6:42 AM, Blogger juandos said...

There are plenty of signs of a recession is a strong possibility...

"Warren Buffett's single most favorite economic indicator - weekly rail traffic - continues to reflect healthy economic activity"...

Yeah and Buffet is supporting Obama, something I find questionable from a capitalist unless he's a 'crony' capitalist...

Personally I think Peter Schiff's take sounds more realistic...

 
At 8/26/2011 8:41 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"no sign of double dip"

you mean except in the GDP numbers?

with real PCE at 0.4%, we're pretty much at stall speed.

 

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