Freight transportation in US drops 1.0 percent in November

The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry, fell 1.0 percent in November from October, falling after a one-month rise, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS). The November 2015 index level (122.3) was 29.1 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.

The level of freight shipments in November measured by the Freight TSI (122.3) was 1.1 percent below the all-time high level of 123.7 in November 2014. BTS’ TSI records begin in 2000.

The October index was revised to 123.5 from 123.2 in last month’s release.

The Freight TSI decrease was unusually broad in terms of mode – all freight modes decreased. The decrease appears to have been driven by weakness in the mining (including oil and gas well drilling and servicing) and manufacturing sectors of the economy. The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production index declined in November by 0.6 percent, and the ISM Manufacturing Index was below 50, indicating declining manufacturing activity.  Elevated inventory to sales ratios may have also played a role.
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