In our recent posts, we have been presenting the data coming out from the Association of American Railroads regarding rail traffic. For a long time, the data says total traffic is up slightly year-over-year but the increase is primarily intermodal. Carload traffic is down, but the numbers are deceiving because there has been an increase in the grain and food-related subcategories, probably due to the last Administration’s efforts to promote exports to Asia. So, how long is the pace of American industry going to be subdued?
There are always reasons to worry about the future, a few current ones include: i.) the Biden Administration’s war on the energy sector which is just getting started we think; ii.) money is being printed in Washington at unprecedented rates; surely inflation will follow, and iii.) there is talk of increased regulation and interference in the labor marketplace with national minimum wages. It is easy to be discouraged.
But there is also one good reason to look forward to some significant improvements. We see in many states dramatic declines in positive COVID test results and declines in hospitalizations. This is very good news, particularly given the short number of weeks that vaccines have been available to the general public. And we are still stuck in winter mode; a season where the flu and COVID virus have been reportedly more resilient and troublesome. In another couple of months, the vaccines will have been much more widely distributed; the trends should be even more dramatic and improving. For the record; the end of the huge impact of the pandemic is coming and the economy should reflect it in a positive way.
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