WASHINGTON — The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry, rose 1.4% in August from July, rising to a new all-time high with the second consecutive monthly increase, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS).
From August 2018 to August 2019, the index rose 4.1% compared to a rise of 5.5% from August 2017 to August 2018.
The level of for-hire freight shipments in August measured by the Freight TSI (140.6) reached its all-time high. BTS’ TSI records begin in 2000.
The July index was revised to 138.7 from 139.0 in last month’s release. The June index was revised up slightly.
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 August Freight TSI increase was broad based, with increases in all sectors except the rail components — carloads and intermodal and took place against a background of mixed results for other indicators. The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production Index grew in August, with increases in mining, manufacturing and utilities. Personal income increased by 0.4%, while housing starts grew by 12.3%. The Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing index decreased 2.1 points to 49.1, indicating contraction in the manufacturing sector.
The August increase brought TSI to a record high level.
The August increase followed an increase in July, leaving TSI 2.0 % over its June level, and 1.3% over its previous record high in November 2018. The record high level was reached even though the index grew in only five of the nine 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 48.3% above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession. For additional historical data, go to TSI data.
For-hire freight shipments in August 2019 (140.6) were 48.3% higher than the low in April 2009 during the recession (94.8). The August 2019 level reached its all-time high.