June 11, 2014 12:00 PM, EDT

DOT Freight Transportation Index Jumps 4.8%

Larry Smith/Trans Pixs

The Department of Transportation’s freight transportation services index jumped 4.8% in April from the same month last year to its second-highest level ever.

The index gained 0.4% from March to a reading of 117.6 — just below the all-time high of 117.8 set in November, DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported June 11.

BTS, which uses a baseline reading of 100 from the year 2000, also revised its March index up to 117.1 from 116.7, and made smaller upward revisions for December and January.

The April increase was led by trucking and rail intermodal, which grew rapidly for the third month in a row, while rail carload growth slowed after fast growth in March.

The index has improved in three straight months following a bottom in January that was largely weather-related and affected the entire economy, BTS said.

The freight TSI is a seasonally adjusted monthly gauge measuring the output of services provided by the for-hire transportation industries. They include railroad, air, truck, inland waterways, pipeline and local transit.