WASHINGTON, Dec. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported that November freight rail carloadings were down 8.2 percent compared with the same month last year and down 17.4 percent compared with November of 2007. However, if Thanksgiving week were excluded, November would have been the highest volume month of the year for U.S. railroads.
While rail carloads are still down overall, December's Rail Time Indicators report illustrates that the recovery in U.S. manufacturing seems to be continuing. The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), which measures how U.S. manufacturing is faring, was at 53.6 in November. A PMI over 50 is thought to indicate growth in the manufacturing sector. If manufacturing is growing, improvement in rail carloads of raw materials, like chemicals and steel which are used in the production of goods, could be seen next month.
U.S. rail intermodal traffic was down 6.7 percent compared with November 2008, and down 14.1 percent compared to November 2007. Consumer confidence rose to 49.5 in November 2009 from 48.7 in October 2009. Since much of rail intermodal traffic consists of consumer goods, the strong positive correlation between consumer confidence and consumer spending indicates that rail intermodal traffic could increase in the coming months should consumer confidence continue to trend upward.
"November's traffic numbers, when considering the effect of the Thanksgiving week, are generally positive," said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John Gray. "Rail traffic is still down significantly in comparison to 2007 numbers, but the economic indicators in December's report lead us to believe that our nation's economy continues to improve."
The Rail Time Indicators report, available at www.aar.org, comprises monthly rail traffic data framed with other key economic indicators to show how freight rail ties into the broader U.S. economy. Both the monthly Rail Time Indicators report and a video summary are available on the AAR web site: www.aar.org. A widget social-media tool, which allows users to share the material by uploading it to Web sites, blogs, or online network profiles, is also available. This widget is a mini-Web application that includes a contact form and a place to ask questions.
To download the widget, click here or go to http://www.aar.org/NewsAndEvents/Widget/2009-0820-MonthlyTraffic.aspx
Editors' Note: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) is the world's leading railroad policy, research and technology organization focusing on the safety and productivity of rail carriers. AAR members include the major freight railroads, or Class I railroads, of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, as well as Amtrak. Class I railroads represent 67 percent of the U.S. freight rail mileage and 90 percent of freight railroad industry employees. Railroads account for 43 percent of intercity freight volume -- more than any other mode of transportation. To learn more about how freight rail works for America, the environment and for you, please visit: www.freightrailworks.org
SOURCE Association of American Railroads