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Economic Indicator: Freight Shipments Rose 0.5% in February from January

April 13, 2012, 08:00 AM
Filed Under: Economy

The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry rose 0.5% in February from January, rising after a one-month decline, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI).

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the level of freight shipments measured by the Freight TSI, 110.3, declined from December 2011's mark of 113.7 which was the all-time high since 1990 when BTS' TSI records began.
The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments by mode of transportation in ton-miles, which are then 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.

Trend: Shipments in February 2012 (110.3) were at the second highest level since the early recession month of April 2008 despite the 3.0% decline from December 2011 (113.7 on the index), which was the highest level in the 22-year history of the series. After dipping to a recent low in April 2009 (94.3), freight shipments increased in 23 of the last 34 months, rising 16.9% during that period.
Index highs and lows: Freight shipments in February 2012 (110.3 on the index) rose 16.9% from 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 February 2012 level is down 3.0% from the historic freight shipment peak reached in December 2011 (113.7).

Long-term trend: Freight shipments are up 1.8% in the five years from February 2007 and up 11.1% in the 10 years from February 2002 despite declines in recent years.
Same month of previous year: February 2012 freight shipments rose 3.6% from February 2011 and 10.5% from February 2009 but remain below the level of February 2008 (111.6)

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