Freight index lowest since Nov. 2011

Updated Sep 5, 2014

Freight TsiThe amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry fell 0.6 percent in August from July, declining after a one-month rise, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ Freight Transportation Services Index released Oct. 11.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the August index level (109.0) was the lowest since November 2011 (108.9) and was 4.4 percent below the all-time high level of 114.0 in December 2011. Since then, the index has remained in a narrow band during the eight months of 2012, reaching a high of 110.6 in February.

After dipping to 94.3 in April 2009 during the recession when freight shipments were at their lowest level since June 1997 (92.3), the index has increased in 25 of the last 40 months, rising 15.6 percent during that period.

August freight shipments rose 0.9 percent from August 2011 and 10.6 percent from August 2009, which was in the trough of the recession, but remained below the level in August 2005 (111.4) prior to the recession. Freight shipments are up 1.0 percent in the five years from the pre-recession level of August 2007 and up 6.4 percent in the 10 years from August 2002 despite declines in recent years.

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight. The index includes historical data from 1990 to the present. The baseline year is 2000.