Monthly freight index up 2.6% in June, year-to-year up 4.1%

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Freight Tsi

The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry rose 2.6 percent in June from May, rising after two monthly declines, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ Freight Transportation Services Index released Wednesday, Aug. 10.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that freight shipments in June measured by the Freight TSI rose to their second-highest level since August 2008, exceeded only by those in March. The 2.6 percent May-to-June increase was the biggest month-to-month rise since November 2009.

Freight shipments have increased in 18 of the last 26 months, rising 1.3 percent in the past six months. Shipments rose 14.5 percent over the last 26 months, starting in May 2009. However, after declining 15.5 percent in the previous 15 months, shipments remain below the February 2008 level. In June, freight shipments returned to about the same level as August 2008, which was the start of six straight months of decline.

Freight shipments in June (108.3 on the index) rose 14.9 percent from the recent low in April 2009 (94.3) when they were at their lowest level since June 1997 (92.3). The June level is down 4.4 percent from the historic freight shipment peak reached in January 2005 (113.3) and is down 3.2 percent in the five years from June 2006 (111.9), which was the all-time high for that month. Shipments are up 9.9 percent in the 10 years from June 2001 despite recent declines.

The Freight TSI fell 0.2 percent in the second quarter, the first quarterly decline since the second quarter of 2009. Although freight shipments rose 4.1 percent from June 2010 to June 2011, they remain below the early recession level of June 2008 (109.7).

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight. The seasonally adjusted index includes historic data from 1990 to the present. The baseline year is 2000.