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BTS releases freight Transportation Services Index (TSI)
Freight shipments rose 1.7% in November from October

The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry rose 1.7 percent in November from October, rising after a one-month decline, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) released today. The November 2012 index level (108.9) was 15.5 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 November measured by the Freight TSI (108.9) was 4.5 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 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 increased in November 2012, at least in part as a result of recovery from Hurricane Sandy, which depressed both truck and freight rail traffic in October. Both rail freight and trucking showed large increases in November. 

Trend: Since peaking in December 2011 (114.0) at the highest level in the 22-year history of the Freight TSI series, the index remained in a narrow band through the first 11 months of 2012, except for a drop in October to 107.1, its lowest level since May 2011 (105.2). The index then returned in November to its level of one year ago in November 2011. After dipping to 94.3 in April 2009 during the recession, freight shipments increased in 28 of the last 43 months, rising 15.5 percent during that period. 

Index highs and lows: Freight shipments in November 2012 (108.9) were 15.5 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 November 2012 level is down 4.5 percent from the historic peak reached in December 2011 (114.0). 

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