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BTS releases August 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, rose 0.2 percent in August from July, rising for the second consecutive month, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS). The August 2015 index level (123.5) was 30.4 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.

The level of freight shipments in August measured by the Freight TSI (123.5) was at an all-time high, exceeding the previous high of 123.4 in November 2014. BTS’ TSI records begin in 2000.

The July index was revised to 123.2 from 122.8 in last month’s release. Monthly numbers for May and June were revised up.

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.

Trend: The August increase of 0.2 percent in the Freight TSI was the second consecutive monthly increase, breaking a trend that began after the index peaked in November 2014. The index had alternated months of increases and decreases with the monthly indexes ranging from 0.2 percent below the November level to 2.0 percent lower. Following the increase in August, the index was 0.1 percent higher than in November, hitting a new all-time high.After dipping to 94.7 in April 2009, the index rose 30.4 percent in the succeeding 76 months.

Analysis: The Freight TSI increase was narrower in terms of modes than it often has been - trucking and rail intermodal showed significant gains, while rail carload, aviation freight, and pipeline decreased, and waterborne was stable. Similarly the increase occurred against a background of mixed indicators for the general economy – employment, personal income, and housing starts all increased, while the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index fell.

Index highs and lows: Freight shipments in August 2015 (123.5) were an all-time high and were 30.4 percent higher than the recent low in April 2009 during the recession (94.7).

Year to date: Freight shipments measured by the index were up 0.8 percent in August compared to the end of 2014.

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

 
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