Friday, February 10, 2012

U.S. Total Freight Shipments (Waterways, Truck, Rail, Air, Pipelines) Hit Record High in December

"The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry rose 3.9 percent in December from November, the largest monthly rise in 17 years, which brought the level of freight shipments to an all-time high, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) released this week. The BTS reported that the level of freight shipments measured by the Freight TSI, 113.7, surpassed the previous high of 113.3 in January 2005 (see chart above).

Definition: The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments by mode of transportation in ton-miles, which are then combined into one index. The index measures the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight.

Shipments in December 2011 (index level of 113.7) were at the highest level in the 22-year history of the series back to 1990. After dipping to a recent cyclical low in April 2009 (94.3), freight shipments increased in 22 of the last 32 months, rising 20.6 percent during that period. For the full year 2011, freight shipments were up 6.4 percent, the highest full-year growth rate since 2002, and marked the third consecutive year with an increase."

MP: A record monthly gain to a new all-time record high for total U.S. freight activity in December that includes shipments by truck, rail, waterways, pipelines and air provides additional evidence that the U.S. economy is recovering and was gaining momentum at year end. If that momentum continues into this year, we might get a stronger recovery in 2012 than the consensus is expecting.  

Thanks to "Unknown"


At 2/10/2012 9:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're welcome.

At 2/11/2012 6:17 PM, Blogger Benjamin Cole said...

Look at the 1990s. When Greenspan was Greenspan (and Clinton was Clinton, and the Congress was GOP).

Did you know that Greenspan was the first Market Monetarist, and that in great part explains the solid growth you see on the 1990s section of this chart.

Alan Greenspan at a FOMC meeting in 1992:

“Let me put it to you this way. If you ask whether we are confirming our view to contain the success that we’ve had to date on inflation, the answer is “yes.” I think that policy is implicit among the members of this Committee, and the specific instruments that we may be using or not using are really a quite secondary question. As I read it, there is no debate within this Committee to abandon our view that a non-inflationary environment is best for this country over the longer term. Everything else, once we’ve said that, becomes technical questions. I would say in that context that on the basis of the studies, we have seen that to drive nominal GDP, let’s assume at 4-1/2 percent, in our old philosophy we would have said that [requires] a 4-1/2 percent growth in M2. In today’s analysis, we would say it’s significantly less than that. I’m basically arguing that we are really in a sense using [unintelligible] a nominal GDP goal of which the money supply relationships are technical mechanisms to achieve that. And I don’t see any change in our view…and we will know they are convinced (about “price stability”) when we see the 30-year Treasury at 5-1/2 percent.“


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