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November 2018 – Manufacturing

Manufacturing ■ Manufacturing continues to be robust. The ISM manufacturing index fell to a still lofty 59.8 in September, down from 61.3 in August. Production, employment, and trade improved slightly. Supplier deliveries fell from 64.5 to 61.1, suggesting supply chain problems did not broaden. ■ Industrial production advanced 0.3% in September, following a 0.4% gain in August.…

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November 2018 – Consumer

Consumer ■ Retail sales were unexpectedly slow in September, rising just 0.1%, following a similar performance in August. Some of the weakness may have been related to Hurricane Florence, as the impact was in gasoline sales, restaurants, and building supply stores. Sales were unchanged excluding autos and gasoline. Sales were up 4.7% on

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November 2018 – Economic Summary

Summary ■ The U.S. economy continues to maintain strong momentum. Growth in Q3 hit 3.5% and that momentum will carry into 2019. Near-term downside risks are low but will increase as 2019 passes. The effects of rising interest rates and fading stimulus, plus the effects of all the tariffs on China, will slow

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Boxcar Conundrum Looming

Boxcar supply and availability could pose a challenge to a wide and varied cross-section of rail carload shippers in the next decade. Shippers moving paper rolls, cardboard, and beer, among other commodities should be thinking about how they are going to move their traffic in the years to come. The

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Industry Focus – Plastics & Rubber Products Outlook

Plastics materials are widely used in manufacturing. Plastics products in the form of bags, boxes, wrapping materials, and packing peanuts are associated with nearly every item sold in retail stores. Plastics materials are also widely used in the items inside the box. Components made from plastic go into transportation equipment

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November 2018 – Rail Service

Service levels remain stable at historically low levels that shippers would like to see improve. There has been a small seasonal improvement on a whole network basis, but some segments, including intermodal, have not shared that gain. As additional railroads announce their intention to implement a Precision Scheduled Railroading-style operating

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November 2018 – Carloads

■ Carload growth accelerated in September as the peak season ramps up. Volume in September was up 5% compared with the same month in 2017, compared with just over 3% gains for the third quarter and the 2% expected for all of 2018. ■ Energy-related business drove the gains as petroleum-related traffic along with sustained export coal

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November 2018 – Rail Executive Overview

■ Average train speeds remain below the prior-year levels by about 3% in recent weeks. ■ Rail service is broadly stable with the typical seasonal slowing occurring, but not getting materially better or worse than what shippers would typically expect for this time of year.  

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November 2018 – Outlook

■ The actual loadings on U.S. rail lines are expected to grow slowly and steadily over the next year. ■ But the rate of year-over-year growth is predicted to be somewhat higher than in the last year because of energy-related demand that has boosted volumes. ■ The bump has not translated over

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November 2018 – Intermodal Outlook

Growth rates reduced to start final quarter: Growth rates for most intermodal sectors were reduced this month in response to slower loadings gains and a more uncertain long-term outlook.   International has potential for Q1 softness: The international intermodal sector has the potential for a soft first quarter of 2019 that

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