Freight Transportation Index hits all-time high

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported this week that its Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) headed up 2.2% from April to May, following two months of declines en route to its highest recording ever.

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The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported this week that its Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) headed up 2.2% from April to May, following two months of declines en route to its highest recording ever.

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.

The May TSI reading at 126.8 marks a new high, eclipsing the previous high of 126.0 in February 2017 by 0.6%, and BTS said the 2.2% sequential increase stands as the largest month-to-month gain going back to November to December 2011, when it rose 2.9%.

May’s Freight TSI is 33.9% above the low recorded in April 2009, which was recorded during the most recent recession, said BTS.  And it was the second time in four months it was more than but only the third time overall that the Freight TSI has exceeded 125.0.

As for what drove May’s strong performance, BTS explained that it was broad based with gains in most modes, especially water and pipeline, while air freight and trucking were stable.

“The increase took place despite mixed performance in other indicators in May,” it said. “Employment and Personal Income both grew in May, and the Institute for Supply Management’s Purchasing Managers’ Index showed positive and accelerating growth.  However, housing starts declined, and the Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index was unchanged, with a decline in manufacturing offset by increases in mining and utility output.”

Compared to May 2017, the Freight TSI was up 4.2% for its highest annual hike since a 5.9% gain from January 2014 to January 2015. 


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Article Topics

BTS · Freight TSI · All Topics
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