The Freight Transportation Services Index, which is based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry, reached an all-time monthly high in August, 1.5 percent higher than the previous highest level reached one month earlier in July, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The August 2017 index level of 130.7 was 38.0 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.
The freight index in August exceeded the level of 130 for the first time ever since the index began in 2000. The index reached 110, a 10 percent increase over the baseline, in March 2004 and it reached 120, a 20 percent gain over the baseline, in April 2014.
The August increase in the Freight TSI was driven by a large gain in trucking and smaller gains in air freight and rail intermodal. Water and pipeline freight decreased while rail carloads were stable. The increase took place against a background of growth in several other indicators in August. Employment, Personal Income and housing starts all increased.
The Freight TSI’s new all-time high of 130.7 in August was 1.5 percent above the all-time high set in the previous month and 4.6 percent above the level of July 2016, the highest level prior to 2017. August was the second all-time high in a row, and the third in four months.
For-hire freight shipments are up 16.1 percent in the five years from August 2012 and are up 19.5 percent in the 10 years from August 2007.