The latest data from the Association of American Railroads (AAR) indicates that the economy continues to improve, at least in some sectors. The latest report covers the week ending September 26, 2020. AAR reports that total carloads for the week were down just 2.1% from the same week in 2019. However, the report suggests that not all business sectors are sharing in this good news. Improving sectors included grain, farm products excl. grain, and motor vehicles and parts. However, coal, nonmetallic minerals, and chemicals were part of the lagging sectors, as has been the case recently.

Overall for the year, AAR reported that for the first 39 weeks in 2020, U.S. carloads were down over 15%, reflecting the damage done to the economy early in the pandemic.

We’ve seen some recent requests for flatcars, open-top hoppers, and gondola railcars, a hopeful sign that industries are starting to feel a little more optimistic about the future.

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