Monthly freight index down in June, up year over year

The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry fell 0.1 percent in June from May, following no change in the index from April to May, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ Freight Transportation Services Index released Wednesday, Aug 8.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the level of freight shipments in June measured by the Freight TSI, 109.5, was 3.9 percent below the all-time high level of 114.0 in December 2011. Freight shipments in June were at the seventh-highest monthly level since the early recession month of July 2008.

The Freight TSI fell 0.2 percent in the second quarter for the second consecutive quarterly decline; the index rose in nine of the prior 10 quarters. After dipping to a recent low in April 2009 (94.3) when freight shipments were at their lowest level since June 1997 (92.3), freight shipments have increased in 24 of the last 38 months, rising 16.1 percent during that period.

June freight shipments rose 1.6 percent from June 2011 and 14.6 percent from June 2009, during the recession, but remain below the level in June 2006 (111.9) prior to the recession. Freight shipments are up 1.1 percent in the five years from the prerecession level of June 2007 and up 7.8 percent in the 10 years from June 2002 despite declines in recent years.

The Freight TSI 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. The seasonally adjusted index includes data from 1990 to the present. The baseline year is 2000.

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