U.S. DOT Freight Index Shows Small Drop in February
By Dan Boaz
As part of our news rotation on the Hot Shot Trucking blog, today sees the addition of a regular review of The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI). Officially compiled by the United States Department of Transporation, the TSI information is released with the assistance of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) and the index measures the total movement of freight and passengers.
Seasonally adjusted the data provides a good indication of the pulse and overall health of the nationwide trucking industry on a month-to-month basis but perhaps more importantly when comparing year-over-year data.
February results which were published last week showed a fairly significant fall of 1.7 percent from January to February although there were underlying factors. By way of comparison, the index improved by less than 0.5 percent between December and January. The February index level was at 120.4 and to put that in perspective that figure is more than 27 percent higher than the April 2009 low-water mark set during the recent recession.
Also encouraging is that the February index sits at a point that is 2.4 percent higher than February of 2014. Industry experts have attributed the February decline, which wasn't anticipated, to a series of extreme winter storms that impacted large sections of the country during the month. That explanation certainly makes sense to us as it seemed that every four or five days another major storm was causing transportation chaos to much of the nation throughout the month in question.
March data will be eagerly awaited to see if an improvement is noted to help a return to gradual growth, whereas a decline of any sort will make some nervous as it could signify the early stages of a plateau or slight fall, particularly as it would mark the third decline in four months. We'll have that data for you in about four weeks time.
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