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Freight Shipments Fell 0.2% in June from May

Press Release Number: 
BTS 37-13
Date: 
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

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Five Years: Freight Transportation Services Index, June 2008-June 2013

Five Years: Freight Transportation Services Index, June 2008-June 2013

Source for Recession Dates: National Bureau of Economic Research, US Business Cycle Expansions and Contractions

The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry fell 0.2 percent in June from May, declining after a one month increase, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) released today. The June 2013 index level (113.8) was 20.0 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession (Tables 1, 2, and 2A).

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the level of freight shipments in June measured by the Freight TSI (113.8) was 1.2 percent below (Table 3) the all-time high level of 115.2 in December 2011 (Table 2A). BTS’ TSI records begin in 2000. See historical TSI data.

The May index was revised to 114.1 from 114.3 in the previous release. Monthly numbers for each month from December through March were also revised, showing slightly lower index levels.

Beginning with the April release, BTS improved procedures and refined the TSI methodology. As a result there have been minor changes in monthly numbers released previously. Documentation will be made available in the near future.

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles, which are 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.

Analysis: The decrease of 0.2 percent in June freight transportation was driven by a decline in rail carloads and pipeline shipments. Coal and grain were the weakest commodities for rail carloads.  Trucking, rail intermodal (a separate measure from rail carloads), and water were stable, while air freight grew.

Trend: The Freight TSI remained above its 2012 range for the sixth month in a row, despite the June decline. It declined slightly over the second quarter of 2013, dropping 0.1 percent in June from its level of 113.9 in March 2013, the first decline over a full quarter since September 2012. After dipping to 94.8 in April 2009, the index rose 20 percent in the succeeding 50 months. For additional historical data, go to TSI data.

Index highs and lows: Freight shipments in June 2013 (113.8) were 20.0 percent higher than the recent low in April 2009 during the recession (94.9). The June 2013 level is down 1.2 percent from the historic peak reached in December 2011 (115.2).

Year to date: Freight shipments measured by the index were up 1.4 percent in June compared to the end of 2012 (Table 3)

Long-term trend: Freight shipments are up 3.2 percent in the five years from the recession level of June 2008 and are up 10.5 percent in the 10 years from in the 10 years from June 2003 (Table 5). 

Same month of previous year: June 2013 freight shipments were up 1.8 percent from June 2012 (Tables 4, 5).

2nd quarter changes: The Freight TSI fell 0.1 percent in the second quarter, the first quarterly decline since the third quarter of 2012 (Table 10).

The TSI has three seasonally adjusted indexes that measures changes from the monthly average of the base year of 2000. The three indexes are freight shipments, passenger travel and a combined measure that merges the freight and passenger indexes. TSI includes data from 2000 to the present. Release of the July 2013 index is scheduled for September 2013.

For a webinar on the TSI, see Past Webinars.  For a video explanation of the TSI, see Overview of the Transportation Services Index.  A BTS report explaining the TSI, Transportation Services Index and the Economy, is available for download.

Passenger Index: The TSI for passengers rose 0.1 percent in June from its May level (Table 6).  The Passenger TSI June 2013 level of 117.5 was 1.4 percent above the June 2012 level (Table 7). The index is up 0.7 percent in five years and up 24.5 percent in 10 years (Table 5).  The passenger TSI measures the month-to-month changes in travel that involves the services of the for-hire passenger transportation sector. The seasonally adjusted index consists of data from air, local transit and intercity rail.

Combined Index: The combined freight and passenger TSI fell 0.2 percent in June from its May level (Table 8). The combined TSI June 2013 level of 114.9 was 1.7 percent above the June 2012 level (Table 9). The combined index is up 2.4 percent in five years and up 14.1 percent in 10 years (Table 5). The combined TSI merges the freight and passenger indexes into a single index.

Revisions: Monthly data has changed from previous releases due to the use of concurrent seasonal analysis, which results in seasonal analysis factors changing as each month’s data are added.    

 

Table 1: Freight, Passenger and Combined Transportation Services Indexes Since December 2012

Percent Change from Previous Month

(Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly Average of 2000 = 100)

  Freight Passenger Combined
Index Pct. Change Index Pct. Change Index Pct. Change
December 112.3 1.3 116.0 1.0 113.3 1.2
January 112.4 0.1 116.7 0.6 113.6 0.3
February 113.2 0.7 116.4 -0.3 114.1 0.4
March 113.9 0.7 116.3 -0.1 114.6 0.5
April 112.8 -1.0 116.8 0.4 114.0 -0.6
May 114.1 1.1 117.4 0.6 115.0 0.9
June 113.8 -0.2 117.5 0.1 114.9 -0.2

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 2: Freight Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2010-2013

Percent change from previous month

  2010 % Change 2011 % Change 2012 % Change 2013 % Change
January 0.5 1.0 -3.6 0.1
February 1.6 -1.7 0.1 0.7
March 0.0 1.5 -0.5 0.7
April 0.7 -0.4 0.6 -1.0
May 0.6 -2.2 0.1 1.1
June -0.2 2.2 0.4 -0.2
July 0.6 0.2 -0.1  
August -0.4 0.6 -0.7  
September 0.9 0.8 0.2  
October 0.5 0.0 -2.5  
November -0.4 0.2 2.2  
December 1.9 4.0 1.3  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

 

Table 2A: Freight Transportation Services Index by Month, 2010-2013

  2010 2011 2012 2013
January 102.3 109.6 111.1 112.4
February 103.9 107.7 111.1 113.2
March 104.0 109.3 110.5 113.9
April 104.7 108.8 111.2 112.8
May 105.3 106.4 111.3 114.1
June 105.1 108.7 111.8 113.8
July 105.8 109.0 111.7  
August 105.3 109.7 110.9  
September 106.3 110.5 111.2  
October 106.8 110.6 108.4  
November 106.4 110.8 110.8  
December 108.5 115.2 112.3  

SOURCE:Bureau of Transportation Statistics

 

Table 3: Freight, Passenger and Combined Transportation Services Indexes Year-to-Date Change, 2004-2013

Percent change to June from December of the previous year

Year Freight Passenger Combined
2004 2.4 3.9 2.9
2005 0.5 2.1 0.9
2006 0.7 2.0 1.1
2007 -0.8 2.6 0.1
2008 -0.5 0.0 -0.4
2009 -4.3 -1.6 -3.5
2010 3.3 1.7 2.8
2011 0.3 1.4 0.6
2012 -2.9 -0.3 -2.2
2013 1.4 1.3 1.3

SOURCE:Bureau of Transportation Statistics

 

Table 4: Freight Transportation Services Index from Year-to-Year

Percent change in the June Freight TSI

(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

  June Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2004 110.6 7.4
2005 111.6 0.8
2006 113.0 1.3
2007 109.6 -3.0
2008 110.3 0.6
2009 96.2 -12.7
2010 105.1 9.2
2011 108.7 3.4
2012 111.8 2.8
2013 113.8 1.8

SOURCE:Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 5: Transportation Services Indexes from Previous Years
Percent Change to 2013 (June to June)

Percent Change to 2013 (June to June)

Since June
. . .
Duration in years Freight TSI Percent change to June 2013 Passenger TSI Percent change to June 2013 Combined TSI Percent change to June 2013
2012 1 1.8 1.4 1.7
2011 2 4.6 2.4 4.0
2010 3 8.2 4.5 7.1
2009 4 18.2 8.1 15.2
2008 5 3.2 0.7 2.4
2007 6 3.8 0.5 2.8
2006 7 0.7 5.6 1.9
2005 8 2.0 7.8 3.4
2004 9 2.8 12.6 5.3
2003 10 10.5 24.5 14.1

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

 

Table 6: Passenger Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2010-2013

Percent change from previous month

  2010 % Change 2011 % Change 2012 % Change 2013 % Change
January 0.4 0.4 -1.0 0.6
February -2.5 -1.4 1.4 -0.3
March 3.0 1.9 0.0 -0.1
April -0.5 0.0 -0.3 0.4
May 0.5 1.1 -0.5 0.6
June 0.9 -0.6 0.0 0.1
July 0.1 0.8 -0.9  
August 0.0 -2.0 1.5  
September 1.2 2.2 -0.5  
October 1.5 -0.1 -1.6  
November -1.0 0.0 0.6  
December -1.2 0.5 1.0  

SOURCE:Bureau of Transportation Statistics

 

Table 7: Passenger Transportation Services Index from Year-to-Year

Percent change in the June Passenger TSI

(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

  June Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2004 104.4 10.6
2005 109.0 4.4
2006 111.3 2.1
2007 116.9 5.0
2008 116.6 -0.2
2009 108.7 -6.8
2010 112.5 3.5
2011 114.7 2.0
2012 115.9 1.0
2013 117.5 1.4

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 8: Combined Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2010-2013

Percent change from previous month

  2010 % Change 2011 % Change 2012 % Change 2013 % Change
January 0.5 0.9 -2.9 0.3
February 0.4 -1.6 0.5 0.4
March 0.9 1.6 -0.4 0.5
April 0.4 -0.3 0.3 -0.6
May 0.6 -1.3 0.0 0.9
June 0.1 1.3 0.3 -0.2
July 0.5 0.4 -0.3  
August -0.3 -0.1 -0.1  
September 1.0 1.2 0.0  
October 0.8 0.0 -2.2  
November -0.6 0.1 1.7  
December 1.0 3.0 1.2  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

 

Table 9: Combined Transportation Services Index from Year-to-Year

Percent change in the June Combined TSI

(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

  June Combined TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2004 109.0 8.4
2005 111.0 1.8
2006 112.7 1.5
2007 111.7 -0.9
2008 112.2 0.4
2009 99.7 -11.1
2010 107.2 7.5
2011 110.4 3.0
2012 113.0 2.3
2013 114.9 1.7

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 10: Freight Transportation Services Index Change by Quarter, 2004-2013

Percent change from the last month of the previous quarter

Year 1st Quarter (Jan-Mar) % Growth 2nd Quarter (Apr-Jun) % Growth 3rd Quarter (Jul-Sep) % Growth 4th Quarter (Oct-Dec) % Growth
2004 1.9 0.5 -0.2 0.5
2005 1.0 -0.5 -0.1 0.6
2006 -0.3 1.1 -0.2 -2.0
2007 1.3 -2.1 -0.3 1.4
2008 -0.4 -0.1 -2.7 -6.3
2009 -4.3 0.0 3.0 2.7
2010 2.2 1.1 1.1 2.0
2011 0.8 -0.5 1.6 4.2
2012 -4.0 1.1 -0.6 1.0
2013 1.5 -0.1    

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

 

Table 11: Passenger Transportation Services Index Change by Quarter, 2004-2013

Percent change from the last month of the previous quarter

Year 1st Quarter (Jan-Mar) % Growth 2nd Quarter (Apr-Jun) % Growth 3rd Quarter (Jul-Sep) % Growth 4th Quarter (Oct-Dec) % Growth
2004 2.1 1.8 0.1 2.2
2005 1.3 0.8 1.6 -1.5
2006 2.0 -0.1 -0.2 2.6
2007 2.6 0.0 0.8 -1.1
2008 0.1 0.0 -3.6 -1.7
2009 -1.7 0.1 0.9 0.9
2010 0.8 0.9 1.3 -0.7
2011 0.9 0.5 1.0 0.4
2012 0.4 -0.8 0.1 0.0
2013 0.2 1.0    

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

 

Table 12: Combined Transportation Services Index Change by Quarter, 2004-2013

Percent change from the last month of the previous quarter

Year 1st Quarter (Jan-Mar) % Growth 2nd Quarter (Apr-Jun) % Growth 3rd Quarter (Jul-Sep) % Growth 4th Quarter (Oct-Dec) % Growth
2004 2.0 0.9 -0.1 1.0
2005 1.1 -0.1 0.4 0.0
2006 0.3 0.8 -0.2 -0.8
2007 1.7 -1.5 0.0 0.7
2008 -0.3 -0.1 -2.9 -5.1
2009 -3.6 0.1 2.4 2.1
2010 1.8 1.0 1.2 1.2
2011 0.8 -0.2 1.5 3.1
2012 -2.8 0.6 -0.4 0.7
2013 1.1 0.2    

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Brief Explanation of the TSI
           
The Transportation Services Index (TSI) is a measure of the month-to-month changes in the output of services provided by the for-hire transportation industries.  The freight index measure changes in freight shipments while the passenger index measures changes in passenger travel.

The TSI tells us how the output of transportation services has increased or decreased from month to month. The index can be examined together with other economic indicators to produce a better understanding of the current and future course of the economy.   The movement of the index over time can be compared with other economic measures to understand the relationship of changes in transportation output to changes in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The freight transportation index consists of:
For-hire trucking,
Railroad freight services (including rail based intermodal shipments such as containers on flat cars),
Inland waterways transportation,
Pipeline transportation (including principally petroleum and petroleum products and natural gas), and
Air freight.

The index does not include international or coastal waterborne movements, private trucking, courier services, or the US Postal Service.

The passenger transportation index consists of:
Local transit,
Intercity passenger rail, and
Passenger air transportation.

The index does not include intercity bus, sight seeing services, ferry services, taxi service, private automobile usage, or bicycling and other non-motorized transportation.