The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry fell 0.2 percent in October from September, the first monthly decrease after four consecutive increases, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI).

BTS reported that at 109.4 the level of freight shipments, measured by the Freight TSI, declined slightly from the recent peak achieved in September, but still remained higher than any other month since July 2008.


Shipments in October 2011 (109.4 on the index) were at the second highest level since July 2008 (109.9) after reaching the highest level in more than three years in September (109.6). July 2008, the previous high, was followed by six straight months of decline. After dipping to a recent low in April 2009 (94.3), freight shipments increased in 21 of the last 30 months, rising 16.0 percent during that period. For additional historic data, go to


For the first 10 months of 2011, freight shipments measured by the index were up 2.3 percent.

Index highs and lows

Freight shipments in October 2011 (109.4 on the index) rose 16.0 percent from the recent low in April 2009 (94.3). In April 2009, freight shipments were at their lowest level since June 1997 (92.3). The October 2011 level is down 3.5 percent from the historic freight shipment peak reached in January 2005 (113.3).

Long-term trend

Freight shipments are down 0.5 percent in the five years from October 2006. Shipments are up 11.6 percent in the 10 years from October 2001 despite declines in recent years.