U.S. for-hire freight on the rise

For-hire freight rose marginally in May, leading to the third consecutive monthly increase for the Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The shift reflects seasonally adjusted increase in truck, rail carloads, air freight and waterways despite declines in intermodal rail and pipeline activity.

(Source: U.S.

Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics)

The index that reflects for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterway, pipeline and air freight rose 8.1% between May 2020 to May 2021, compared to a drop of 8.9% between May 2019 and May 2020, and a rise of 2.3% from May 2018 to May 2019. The index reflects tons and ton-miles of freight. This May's reading of 137.7 was 3% lower than an all-time high of 141.9 recorded in August 2019.

The increases coincide with increases in several economic sectors. The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production (IP) Index increased in manufacturing (up 18.3%), mining (up 16.5%), and utilities (up 3.6%). But housing starts were down 3%.

A 0.5-point increase in the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Index, reaching 61.2, reflects accelerating manufacturing growth, the statisticians note.