Rail traffic is taking a turn for the worse in recent weeks as the economy appears to be slowing even further into Q4. The latest reading on intermodal traffic came in at -1.1%. That brings the trailing 12 week average to 1.65%. The US economy appears to be just barely treading water at this point.
This is also consistent with my latest update for Q4 GDP which is tracking at 1.1% (available via Orcam Investment Research).
Here’s more via the AAR:
AAR today also reported declines in rail traffic for the week ending Dec. 1, 2012. Last week U.S. railroads originated 305,708 carloads, down 2 percent compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume for the week totaled 241,411 trailers and containers, down 1.1 percent compared with the same week last year.
Fourteen of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with petroleum products, up 65.3 percent; metallic ores, up 27.2 percent, and iron and steel scrap, up 20.2 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included coal, down 12.7 percent; waste and nonferrous scrap, down 5.6 percent, and primary forest products, down 5 percent.
Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was down 2.1 percent compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was down 1.9 percent compared with the same week in 2011.