by Bill McBride on 3/07/2011 02:18:00 PM
Monday, March 07, 2011
This is "D list" data and doesn't show much improvement in February.
From the Association of American Railroads: February Freight Rail Traffic Continues to Make Gains. The AAR reports carload traffic in February 2011 was up 4.2% compared to February 2010 and intermodal traffic (using intermodal or shipping containers) was up 10.3% over February 2010.
U.S. freight railroads originated 1,135,396 carloads in February 2011, an average of 283,849 per week (see chart below). That’s up 4.2% (46,054 carloads) over February 2010 and up 2.7% (29,400 carloads) over February 2009.Click on graph for larger image in new window.
This graph shows U.S. average weekly rail carloads (NSA).
On a seasonally adjusted basis, U.S. rail carloads were down 3.0% in February 2011 from January 2011. That’s the biggest month-to-month declineAs the first graph shows, rail carload traffic collapsed in November 2008, and now, over 18 months into the recovery, carload traffic has only recovered a little.
since April 2009, but we cannot be certain that the weather effect was completely captured by the seasonal adjustment process. Even if the seasonally adjusted decline is legitimate, it could just be one of those “two steps forward, one step back” kind of things.
The second graph is for intermodal traffic (using intermodal or shipping containers):
In February 2011, U.S. railroads averaged 220,458 intermodal trailers and containers per week, for a total of 881,830 for the month. That’s up 10.3% (82,267 intermodal units) over February 2010 and up 21.4% (155,487 units) over February 2009.Intermodal traffic is fairly strong, but carload traffic has barely recovered.
Seasonally adjusted U.S. rail intermodal traffic was up 0.1% in February 2011 from January 2011. ... in seasonally adjusted terms, the recovery in U.S. rail intermodal traffic has been much stronger than the recovery in U.S. carload traffic.
excerpts with permission