Fleet Management

July Freight Shipments up 0.1% Month-over-Month

September 13, 2012

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The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry rose 0.1% in July from June, rising after a one-month decline, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics' Freight Transportation Services Index.


The July 2012 index level (109.6) was 16.3% above the April 2009 low during the recession.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the level of freight shipments in July measured by the Freight TSI, 109.6, was 3.8% below the all-time high level of 114.0 in Dec. 2011. BTS' TSI records began in 1990.

Analysis

The Freight TSI continued a pattern of little change since January. This appears to reflect the rate of growth in the general economy. Gross Domestic Product growth slowed to a revised 1.7% in the second quarter and a revised 2% in first quarter of 2012, from 3% in fourth quarter of 2011, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Trend

Freight shipments in July (109.6) were at the sixth highest monthly level since the early recession month of July 2008, despite the 3.8% decline from its peak in December 2011 (114.0), which was the highest level in the 22-year history of the Freight TSI series.

After dipping to a recent low in April 2009 (94.3) during the recession, freight shipments increased in 25 of the last 39 months, rising 16.3% during that period. For additional historical data, go to http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml.

Freight shipments in July (109.6) were 16.3% higher than the recent low in April 2009 during the recession (94.3). In April 2009, freight shipments were at their lowest level since June 1997 (92.3). The July 2012 level is down 3.8% from the historic freight shipment peak reached in December 2011 (114.0).

July 2012 freight shipments rose 1.9% from July 2011 and 12.9% from July 2009, during the recession, but remain below the level in July 2006 (110.8) prior to the recession.

The TSI is a seasonally adjusted index that measures changes from the monthly average of the base year of 2000. It includes historical data from 1990 to the present. Release of the August index is scheduled for Oct. 11.

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