WASHINGTON — The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) said Thursday that the Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry, rose 0.9% in July from June, rising to a new all-time high after declining for two consecutive months.
From July 2018 to July 2019, the index rose 2.9% compared to a rise of 6.0% from July 2017 to July 2018.
The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in for-hire 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.
The BTS said the Uly increase was broad based with increases in rail carloads, rail intermodal, trucking, pipeline and air freight. There was a small decline in water transportation.
The TSI increase took place against a background of mixed results for other indicators.
The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production Index declined in July, reflecting decreases in mining and manufacturing and an increase in utilities. Personal income increased by 0.1%, while housing starts declined by 4.0%. The Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing index decreased 0.5 points to 51.2, indicating continued but slowing growth.
The BTS said despite small decreases in both May (-0.1%) and June (-0.3%), the July index was 0.6% over its April level and 0.2% over its previous record high in November 2018.
The record high level was reached even though the index increased in only four of the eight months since November. From a low point in March 2016, the index climbed 12.8% until reaching a new high in May 2018. From that point, the index has exceeded its levels in all months prior to May 2018. The July 2019 index was 46.6% above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.
For-hire freight shipments in July 2019 (139.0) were 46.6% higher than the low in April 2009 during the recession (94.8). The July 2019 level reached its all-time high.
For-hire freight shipments measured by the index were up 2.1% in July compared to the end of 2018.
For-hire freight shipments are up 15.4% in the five years from July 2014 and are up 41.4% in the 10 years from July 2009.