Rail traffic trends continue to point to a positive overall economic outlook. Intermodal traffic has been choppy in recent weeks due to seasonal discrepancies, but the 12-week moving average remains strong at 6.7 percent. That's the highest reading since March of this year.
Here's more from the AAR:
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported mixed U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Dec. 7, 2013 with 279,213 total U.S. carloads, down 4.4 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 262,765 units, up 9.4 percent compared with the same week last year. Total combined U.S. weekly rail traffic was 541,978 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.8 percent compared with the same week last year.
Five of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2012, including petroleum and petroleum products with 14,831 carloads, up 18.6 percent; and grain with 20,560 carloads, up 10.4 percent. Commodities showing a decrease compared with the same week last year included coal with 104,994 carloads, down 13.3 percent.
For the first 49 weeks of 2013, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 13,808,713 carloads, down 0.6 percent from the same point last year, and 12,135,679 intermodal units, up 4.4 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 49 weeks of 2013 was 25,944,392 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.7 percent from last year.