Archive for September, 2010

August was a busy month for America’s railroads, according to the Association for American Railroads. Traffic spiked up, as often happens during the month. More importantly, August traffic was 11% higher than a year ago (the same gain as reported in July):

Carloads (think bulk materials like coal, grains, minerals, and chemicals plus autos) are up about 6% over 2009:

Intermodal traffic (think trailers and containers) is up almost 20%, thus returning to 2008 levels:

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Friday’s job report was decidedly mixed. Private employers added 67,000 jobs–more than expected, but still tepid. Meanwhile the unemployment rate ticked up to 9.6%, and the U-6 measure of underemployment moved up to 16.7%:

(As you may recall, the U-6 measure includes the officially unemployed, marginally attached workers, and those who are working part-time but want full-time work.)

Both the headline unemployment rate (U-3) and the underemployment rate (U-6) are below their peaks of late 2009, but have basically been moving sideways. That’s much better than the sharp increases in 2008 and most of 2009. But we have a very long way to go.

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