Another unfortunate sign of the state of our economy became visible a few days ago as the Association of American Railroads (AAR) released freight rail traffic for the beginning of 2022. AAR noted that total rail traffic was down 6.6% for the week ending January 15th, as compared to the same week last year. Within this statistic, carloads were actually up by .5%, while the intermodal volume of containers and trucks was down a stunning 12.2% as compared to the same week last year.

Additionally, AAR reported that for the first two weeks of this year, total carloads were down 5.5%and intermodal container and truckloads were down 16.2% compared to the same period in 2021. Total traffic for the first two weeks was down 11.3%.

Commodity groups recently declining included grain, motor vehicles and parts, and petroleum and petroleum products. It would be great if we could see this as something temporary however we just don’t foresee these sectors of the economy improving materially in the near future.