TRUCKING: Trucking conditions improve, but they might have finally peaked.
RAILCAR: Carload volumes are being held back by four main commodities to start 2022.
INTERMODAL: International volumes remained weak in December and face near-term headwinds to growth in 2022.
SHIPPERS: Fuel costs are proving to be the difference between tough and really tough market conditions.
Economic indicators in December mostly deteriorated from November’s levels. However, although initial payroll figures for December were the weakest of the year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics revised the data upward in its January report, and January growth was solid as well. Job openings and quits remain at near-record levels. Inflation continued to be a concern in January as the 12-month change in the Consumer Price Index was the strongest in nearly 40 years. Also, crude oil prices in early February topped $90 a barrel for the first time since September 2014, and diesel prices rose to the highest level since May 2014.
• Industrial production and manufacturing output eased slightly in December.
• Retail sales fell 1.9% on a seasonally adjusted basis, but unadjusted sales rose to a record level.
• Freight volumes are stable at strong levels in truck and stable at weak levels in rail and intermodal.