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BTS releases July 2014 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 0.9 percent in July from June, rising after a one-month decline, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS). The July 2014 index level (119.6) was 26.5 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession. 

The level of freight shipments in July measured by the Freight TSI (119.6) was 0.5 percent below the all-time high level of 120.3 in May 2014 (Table 2A). BTS’ TSI records begin in 2000. 

The June index was revised down to 118.6 from 119.1 in last month’s release. The May index, the all-time high, was revised up slightly while the January through April indexes were revised down slightly.  

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: All freight modes but two grew in July after declines in June. Water and pipelines continued to decline. During the month, several other indicators of related parts of the economy that often impact transportation increased. Industrial production, led by manufacturing and construction, increased. Both shipments and inventories of manufactured goods increased. Overall employment grew, as did transportation employment. 

Trend: July was the second month in which the Freight TSI reached the levels that had been attained prior to the weather-related downturn in the early part of the year. The index reached its second highest level, below only the all-time high (120.3) in May 2014. The increase in the index represents a return to growth after the decline in June.  After dipping to 94.6 in April 2009, the index rose by 26.5 percent in the succeeding 63 months.    

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