The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), a branch of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), recently released the Freight Transportation Services Index (FTSI) for December 2015, which fell for the second straight month.
Freight transported by the for-hire transportation industry declined by 0.4 percent in December.
The FTSI index level for December 2015, 121.0, amounted to 27.8 percent more than the figure from April 2009, which was the low point during the latest recession. In addition, for more perspective, The December number was 2.3 percent below the all-time high of 123.8 in November 2014.
It is important to note that the November index was altered from 122.0 to 121.5, showing smaller downward shifts from August to October.
From November to December, the FTSI fell by 0.4 percent for all terms of mode, with the exception of trucking, which rose. Experts attribute the decline to mining (gas and oil well servicing and drilling), as well as manufacturing and utility industries. These sectors have been weakened in recent months.
The purpose of the FTSI is to evaluate the month-to-month shifts in freight shipments according to the mode of transportation in ton-miles as well as tons. All of the figures are then united in a single index, which measures the rates of the for-hire transportation industry. The FTSI includes data from for-hire rail, trucking, pipelines, inland waterways and air freight.