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U.S. freight-rail traffic in June tumbled 3.2% to 2,480,674 carloads, containers and trailers compared with June 2021, according to Association of American Railroads data.
Carload volume last month dipped 1.5% to 1,157,555 units, while intermodal volume fell 4.6% to 1,323,119 containers and trailers.
Last month's traffic trends don't offer definitive answers on whether the U.S. economy will soon enter a recession, according to AAR Senior Vice President John Gray.
"Like many other economic indicators today, rail traffic is a mix of red, yellow and green with some traffic lines, such as automotive providing generally positive indicators, while others, such as chemicals, [are] a bit more subdued than they were earlier in the year," Gray said in a press release.
Eight of the 20 carload commodity categories that AAR tracks every month posted carload gains compared with June 2021. They included crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 7.3%; grain, up 4.5%; and motor vehicles and parts, up 6.2%.
Commodities that posted declines last month included coal, down 3.1%; all other carloads, down 23.1%; and primary metal products, 11.6%.
Excluding coal, carloads fell 0.9% in June from June 2021. Excluding coal and grain, carloads decreased 1.7%.
Total U.S. carload traffic for the first six months of 2022 was 5,993,917 units, down 0.1%, and 6,878,726 containers and trailers, down 6.2%, compared with the same period in 2021.