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BTS releases June 2015 freight Transportation Services Index (TSI)

The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry, fell 0.3 percent in June from May, falling after a single month of growth, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS). The June 2015 index level (121.9) was 28.8 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.

The level of freight shipments in June measured by the Freight TSI (121.9) was 1.2 percent below the all-time high level of 123.4 in November 2014. BTS’ TSI records begin in 2000.

The May index was revised to 122.2 from 122.7 in last month’s release. The April and February indexes were also revised down slightly.

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles, which are combined into one index. The index measures the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight.

Analysis: The 0.3 percent decline in the index from May to June was due to declines in truck, water and rail intermodal shipments. For the April-to-June quarter, the 0.6 percent decline was the first quarterly decline since the second quarter of 2014, and the largest decline since the third quarter of 2012. In contrast to the Freight TSI, Passenger TSI grew 1.6 percent in the second quarter, the largest quarterly increase since the first quarter of 2007. Over a longer period, the 0.4 percent decline in the first half of 2015 was the first semi-annual decline since the second half of 2012 in Passenger TSI.

Trend: The June decline of 0.3 percent in the Freight TSI continued the trend that began after the index peaked in November 2014. The index has alternated months of increases and decreases with the months ranging from 0.6 percent below the November level to 2.1/percent lower. Following the decrease in June, the index was 1.2 percent lower than the all-time high. After dipping to 94.7 in April 2009, the index rose 28.8 percent in the succeeding 74 months. For additional historical data, go to TSI data.

Index highs and lows: Freight shipments in June 2015 (121.9) were 28.8 percent higher than the recent low in April 2009 during the recession (94.7). The June 2015 level was 1.2 percent below the historic peak reached in November 2014 (123.4).

Year to date: Freight shipments measured by the index were down 0.4 percent in June compared to the end of 2014.

2nd quarter changes: The Freight TSI rose 0.2 percent in the first quarter and fell 0.6 percent in the second quarter of 2015.  

See Freight TSI Press Release for summary tables and additional data. See Transportation Services Index for historical data and methodology.