The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry fell 1.9% in October from September, declining after a one-month increase,
according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Freight Transportation Services Index.
The drop was at least in part due to Hurricane Sandy, which depressed both truck and freight rail traffic. Both rail freight and trucking showed significant declines.
The October 2012 index level (107.1) was 13.6% above the April 2009 low during the recession.
The level of freight shipments in October measured by the Freight TSI (107.1) was 6% below the all-time high level of 114.0 in December 2011.
The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles, which are combined into one index. The index 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.
Since peaking in December 2011 (114.0) at the highest level in the 22-year history of the Freight TSI series, the index remained in a narrow band through the first nine months of 2012, but in October it dropped to its lowest level since May 2011 (105.2).