The trend we have seen the to this point this year is holding. If one looks at the top number for total rail traffic it is essentially flat YOY at 666k cars v 672k in ’11. If one factors in the collapse in coal, the 28k car difference means ’12 numbers are comfortably ahead in ’11 in the other categories.
Here is the coal chart:
So what rail traffic is telling us is we are still seeing an economy that is expanding YOY which means we will continue to see positive trends to both GDP and employment numbers. The even more encouraging news is the “what” is being hauled number. Stone products, forestry products and metal are all at multi-year highs. These are the “building” components and this means manufacturing and construction continues to grow and that is VERY encouraging.