May 12, 2020 - Economy & Business

Freight volume hits all-time low as coronavirus crushes the transportation industry

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Data: Association of American Railroads; Table: Axios Visuals

Already facing an industry-wide recession coming into the year, the coronavirus pandemic has leveled the global transportation industry and pushed U.S. freight volume to its largest year-over-year percentage decline since the Association of American Railroads began collecting data in 1989.

By the numbers: The total number of originated carloads on U.S. railroads last month averaged 196,107 per week, "easily the lowest weekly average for any month since before January 1988, when our data began," AAR analysts wrote in the latest monthly assessment of the industry, "Real Time Indicators."

  • "In fact, the five months from December 2019 through April 2020 are the five lowest-volume months (measured by weekly average total carloads) since before 1988."
  • "In April 2020, total carloads were down 25.2%, or 329,693 carloads, from last April. That’s the biggest year-over-year monthly percentage decline since our data began."

Go deeper: Public transit's death spiral

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 6,672,287 — Total deaths: 391,848 — Total recoveries — 2,895,167Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 1,875,402 — Total deaths: 108,278 — Total recoveries: 485,002 — Total tested: 18,680,529Map.
  3. Public health: Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. States: Cities are retooling public transit to lure riders back.
  5. Jobs: Unemployment rate falls to 13.3% in May — Explaining a surprise jobs report.
  6. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
Updated 17 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The Department of Health and Human Services moved on Thursday to require that an individual's race, ethnicity, age and sex be submitted to the agency with novel coronavirus test results.

Why it matters: Some cities and states have reported the virus is killing black people at disproportionately high rates. There are gaps in the national picture of how many people of color are affected, since the data has not been a requirement for states to collect or disclose.

Unpacking a surprise jobs report

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Can we trust this morning's surprisingly good employment report?

  • The short answer: Yes.