New U.S. Transportation Department figures show the amount of for-hire freight rose 1.6% in July from June, the fourth consecutive monthly gain and a new record high.
The increase places the department’s Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) at a reading of 124.6, while the June measure was revised up to 122.6 from 122.3. Numbers for January through May were also revised up slightly. TSI records go back to 2000.
The gauge measures freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles, which are combined into one index that includes the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry from trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight.
In the first seven months of the year the index is up 2.7% compared to the end of 2015, while it is up 1.7% in July from the same time a year earlier.
According to the report, the July increase of 1.6% from June was due to growth in trucking and rail carloads, while all other modes declined. It was driven by the mining (including oil and gas well drilling and servicing), utility and manufacturing sectors of the economy.
The combined growth in the TSI of 4% percent over the four months through July is the first time the index rose for four consecutive months since December 2014 and is the largest increase over a four-month period since February 2013.
The new high exceeded the previous high of 123.6 in December 2014 by 0.8%. The index has risen 31.6% since the low of 94.7 in April 2009.