WASHINGTON — The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry, reached an all-time high in November, rising 0.2 percent in November from October, growing for the second consecutive month, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS).
The November 2017 index level of 130.8 was 38.1 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.
BTS’ TSI records begin in 2000. See historical TSI data.
The October index was revised to 130.5 from 129.2 in last month’s release.
Monthly numbers for April through September were revised up slightly and March were revised down 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.
Notable increases in trucking, rail carloads, rail intermodal and air freight led the November increase of 0.2 percent while water and pipeline declined.
The TSI increase took place against a background of strong results for other indicators.
The Federal Reserve Board industrial production index rose by 0.2 percent in November, with increases in manufacturing and mining. Employment rose, personal income grew and housing starts increased.
The Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing index declined to 58.2, indicating positive but decelerating growth.
As for trends, the Freight TSI’s November index was 4.7 percent above the level of July 2016 of 124.9, which was the highest level prior to 2017.
November was the second all-time high in a row, and the sixth in 2017. The seven months from May to November 2017 were the seven highest levels the Freight TSI has ever attained. The Freight TSI was at or above 124.0 in every month of 2017, a level it reached in only two months prior to 2017. The November index was 38.1 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession. For additional historical data, go to TSI data.
For-hire freight shipments are up 16.6 percent in the five years from November 2012 and are up 18.3 percent in the 10 years from November 2007.
BTS research has shown a clear relationship between economic cycles and the freight and passenger transportation services indexes, the BTS said.