BTS reports another all-time high for Freight Transportation Services Index

For September, the most recent month for which data is available, the Freight TSI topped August by 0.2% at 129.2. August’s 129 (downwardly revised from 130.7) was the previous all-time high. And July’s 128.8 was the previous all-time high before August.

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An all-time high two months in a row, deserves another one the following month.

That appears to be the working thesis for the Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) issued this week by the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

According to BTS officials, the Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments in ton-miles, which are then 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.

For September, the most recent month for which data is available, the Freight TSI topped August by 0.2% at 129.2. August’s 129 (downwardly revised from 130.7) was the previous all-time high. And July’s 128.8 was the previous all-time high before August.

September’s reading topped the Freight TSI’s lowest-ever recorded reading by 36.3%, which was 94.8 in April 2009, and was up 6.7% compared to September 2016 and was also the largest annual increase going back to December 2010.

What’s more, while September was the third straight all-time high, it was also the fourth highest reading in five months, with every month since November 2016 exceeding the level of all previous months, with the exception of July 2016. And all six of the Freight TSI’s all-time high readings have occurred in 2017, as each month has topped the pre-2017 high in July 2016 by at least 1.0%.

Over the last six months, the index rose 3.8 percent with the third quarter 2.4 percent rise following the second quarter increase of 1.4 percent, according to BTS, adding that the two consecutive quarterly increases were the first since the beginning of 2015.

“Significant increases in trucking and pipeline led the September increase of 0.2 percent while other modes declined,” BTS said. The TSI increase took place against a background of mixed results for other indicators. The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index rose by 0.3 percent in September, with increases in all sectors. Employment rose, Personal income grew and the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing index rose to 60.8, indicating accelerating growth.  Meanwhile, housing starts fell by 4.5 percent.”


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Article Topics

BTS · Freight TSI · All Topics
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