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November 2017
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BTS releases October 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 0.3 percent in October from September, rising for the fourth consecutive month, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS). The October 2014 index level (121.8) was 28.8 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession. 

The level of freight shipments in October measured by the Freight TSI (121.8) reached its all-time high (Table 2A). BTS’ TSI records begin in 2000. 

The September index was revised to 121.4 from 121.5 in last month’s release. 

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 growth in October was led by trucking, rail and waterborne. During the month, several other indicators of related parts of the economy that often impact transportation increased. Employment and retail sales both increased, as did manufacturing output, though total industrial production declined slightly. Inventories increased to reach an historic high. 

Trend: The Freight TSI increased for the fourth month in a row in October, reaching an all-time high. The increase was a return to growth after a decline in June. This October rise was the eighth monthly increase in 2014. However, due to the decline in June and the more substantial decline in January, the total 2014 increase has been only 2.2 percent, less than the 2.8 percent increase during same period in 2013. After dipping to 94.6 in April 2009, the index rose 28.8 percent in the succeeding 66 months. 

Index highs and lows: Freight shipments in October 2014 (121.8) were 28.8 percent higher than the recent low in April 2009 during the recession (94.6). The October 2014 level reached its all-time high. 

Year to date: Freight shipments measured by the index were up 2.2 percent in October compared to the end of 2013. 

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