The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry in May rose 1.2 percent from the previous month and 2.7 percent from May 2012, according to a Freight Transportation Services Index release from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
The May index was 114.3, the highest level so far this year, compared with 112.9 (revised) in April. Furthermore, May’s level reflected the fifth month in a row that the index has exceeded its 2012 range. It was also was 20.6 percent above the relatively recent low of 94.8 in April 2009 during the recession and down 0.8 percent from the historic peak reached in December 2011 of 115.2.
The 1.2 percent increase in May was driven by gains in shipments by truck and rail, along with broader signs of strength in the general economy, according to the release. In addition, housing starts rose “particularly fast” in May, which would affect the index because heavy construction materials produce growth in freight tonnage.