WASHINGTON — The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry, fell 0.6 percent in September from August, falling for the second consecutive month, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). The Freight TSI is at its lowest point since March, and the September level was 0.1 percent below the level at the start of 2016.
Freight shipments measured by the index were up 0.1 percent in September compared to the end of 2015.
The September Freight TSI fell due to declines in trucking, pipeline and rail intermodal, while air freight, water, and rail carloads rose, BTS reported. The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index rose only 0.1 percent in September, though employment grew by 161,000 jobs and housing starts were 1.9 percent above the August level.
A 0.7 percent third quarter decrease matched slow growth in Industrial Production, which remained unchanged in the third quarter, while Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth quickened to 2.9 percent in the third quarter, according to BTS. GDP growth in the second and third quarters outpaced the 1.5 percent growth of TSI over those two quarters, after two earlier quarters when GDP grew less than 1 percent and TSI declined.
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. The TSI is seasonally adjusted to remove regular seasons from month-to –month comparisons.
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