Official freight numbers for April are in. The index that measures freight movement in tons and ton-miles reveals freight was down for all freight modes except trucking and pipeline, which was enough for a net increase.
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Freight Transportation Services Index for April increased by 1.3 percent to 121.1. April’s TSI is a 2 percent decrease of the all-time high of 123.6 set in December 2014.
The April index is 27.9 percent above the low set during the recession in April 2009. TSI records began in 2000.
Trucking freight went up to 137 from 134.6, a nearly 2 percent increase. However, numbers from the American Trucking Associations reveal a tonnage decrease of 2.1 percent in April to 134.8 from 137.6 in March. ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys of its membership.
According to the DOT, TSI’s growth lines up with monthly increases in housing starts and industry production. Mining production and employment fell in April. The Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Index declined, but numbers indicate slow but positive manufacturing growth, according to BTS.
April’s freight TSI increase is the largest month-to-month increase since March 2014. Although above February levels, the TSI index for April is still below 10 of 12 months of last year. February and March’s decreases were only the third back-to-back monthly decreases since December 2013. In all three cases, the next month represented an increase of 1.2 percent or more, including three of the four largest increases in that period.
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