The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry rose 1.2 percent in February from January, rising after two consecutive monthly declines, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI). The February 2014 index level (115.2) was 21.6 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession (Tables 1, 2, and 2A).
The level of freight shipments in February measured by the Freight TSI (115.2) was two percent below the all-time high level of 117.6 in November 2013 (Table 2A). BTS’ TSI records begin in 2000.
The January index was revised to 113.9 from 113.6 in last month’s release. The December index was also 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
Analysis: The February rebound in the freight index was dominated by trucking and rail intermodal as the other freight modes declined or were stable. The unusually severe weather that hampered freight shipments in January continued in February but the demand for goods to ship increased despite the weather. The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production Index, which had declined in the face of January’s severe weather, rebounded in February.
Trend: The freight TSI increased after declining for two consecutive months. While still below the all-time high reached in November 2013, it is at the third highest level ever and higher than at any time prior to that month. After dipping to 94.8 in April 2009, the index rose by 21.6 percent in the succeeding 58 months.