Rail traffic: The economic indicator that's not improving

If you're skeptical of the economic data that pundits tout as a sign the economy is starting to recover, you're not alone. In fact, you might have one very good reason to believe that economic activity is still tepid and is not showing signs of improvement. Stock research house Zacks points out that rail traffic, a direct indicator of economic activity, hasn't recovered at all.

Rail shipments in the last four weeks are down 18.6 percent compared to 2008, which is comparable to the 18.8 percent year-to-date decline versus the same period in 2008.

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