BTS releases freight Transportation Services Index (TSI);
Freight shipments fell 0.6% in August from July
The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry fell 0.6 percent in August from July, declining after a one-month rise, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) released today. The August 2012 index level (109.0) was 15.6 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 August measured by the Freight TSI (109.0) was at the lowest level since November 2011 (108.9) and was 4.4 percent below the all-time high level of 114.0 in December 2011 (Table 2A). BTS’ TSI records began in 1990. See historical
target="_blank">TSI data. 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 Freight TSI in August 2012 continued 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 a revised 1.7 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). Waterborne freight, which had declined significantly in June, has remained stable at the lower level since then, apparently due to the impact of continued low water conditions on the Mississippi River system.
Trend: Since peaking in December 2011 (114.0) at the highest level in the 22-year history of the Freight TSI series, the index has remained in a narrow band during the eight months of 2012. It reached a high of 110.6 in February and a low of 109.0 in August. After dipping to 94.3 in April 2009 during the recession, freight shipments increased in 25 of the last 40 months, rising 15.6 percent during that period. For additional historical data, go to http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml.