Monthly freight index fell 0.4% in May, year-to-year up 4.4%

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Trucks On Highway

The Freight Transportation Services Index fell 0.4 percent in May from its April level, declining after two consecutive monthly increases, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported Wednesday, July 14.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the Freight TSI has risen 4.4 percent over the last 12 months, starting in June 2009, after declining 15.3 percent in the previous 10 months beginning in August 2008. The index has increased in nine of the last 12 months. Through the first five months of 2010, the index declined 1.9 percent with small increases in January, March and April combined with a 3.5 percent decrease in February and the 0.4 percent decrease in May.

The May Freight TSI of 97.7 is a 4.4 percent increase from the recent low of 93.5 reached in May 2009, when the index was at its lowest level since June 1997. The Freight TSI is down 13.5 percent from its historic peak of 112.9 reached in May 2006. Although the index rose 4.4 percent from May 2009 to May 2010, it remains below the level of every other May since 1997 when it was 92.7.

March 2010 was the first month since July 2008 in which the Freight TSI exceeded the level of the previous year. The index has exceeded the previous year’s level every month since March but still remains below the level of earlier years. The freight index is down 12.4 percent in the five years from May 2005 and is down 1.8 percent in the 10 years from May 2000.

The Freight TSI 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. It includes historic data from 1990 to the present. The baseline year is 2000.