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BTS releases freight transportation services index (TSI)
Freight shipments fell 0.1% in June from May

The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry fell 0.1 percent in June from May, following no change in the index from April to May, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) released today. The June 2012 index level (109.5) was 16.1 percent above the April 2009 low during the recession. BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the level of freight shipments in June measured by the Freight TSI, 109.5, was 3.9 percent below the all-time high level of 114.0 in December 2011. BTS’ TSI records began in 1990. The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments by mode of transportation in ton-miles, which are then 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 Freight TSI remained stable in the second quarter of 2012, continuing a pattern of little change since January. This appears to reflect the rate of growth in the general economy. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth slowed to 1.5 percent in the second quarter and a revised 2.0 percent in first quarter of 2012, from 3.0 percent in fourth quarter of 2011, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Rail and truck freight grew in June, but were offset by decline in shipments using other modes, notably waterborne freight, which may be due to the impact of low water conditions on the Mississippi River system. Trend: Freight shipments in June 2012 (109.5) were at the seventh highest monthly level since the early recession month of July 2008 despite the 3.9 percent decline from its peak in December 2011 (114.0), which was the highest level in the 22-year history of the Freight TSI series. After dipping to a recent low in April 2009 (94.3) during the recession, freight shipments increased in 24 of the last 38 months, rising 16.1 percent during that period. For additional historical data, go to Index highs and lows: Freight shipments in June 2012 (109.5) were 16.1 percent higher than the recent low in April 2009 during the recession (94.3). In April 2009, freight shipments were at their lowest level since June 1997 (92.3). The June 2012 level is down 3.9 percent from the historic freight shipment peak reached in December 2011 (114.0).   See Freight TSI Press Release for summary tables and additional data. See Transportation Services Index for historic data and methodology.