Monthly freight index up 0.4% in August, year-over-year up 4.6%

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Updated Oct 17, 2011

The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry rose 0.4 percent in August from July, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ Freight Transportation Services Index released Thursday, Oct. 13. BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the level of freight shipments has risen 2.9 percent in the last three months.

Shipments in August (108.7 on the index) were at the highest level since July 2008 (109.9), which was followed by six straight months of declines. After dipping to a recent low in April 2009 (94.3) – the lowest level since June 1997 (92.3) – freight shipments have risen 15.3 percent since and have increased in 19 of the last 28 months.

Shipments rose 15.3 percent over the last 29 months starting from April 2009 after declining 15.6 percent from February 2008 to April 2009. The August 2011 level is down 4.1 percent from the historic freight shipment peak reached in January 2005 (113.3).

Although August 2011 freight shipments rose 4.6 percent from August 2010 and 10.3 percent from August 2009, they remain below the all-time high for the month of August (111.4) reached in 2005. Freight shipments are up 0.6 percent in the five years from August 2006 and are up 9.4 percent in the 10 years from August 2001 despite recent declines.

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.

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