You are here

Freight Shipments Rose 0.3% in July from June

Press Release Number: 
BTS 41-13
Date: 
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

PDF | Excel

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

Five Years: Freight Transportation Services Index, July 2008- July 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 rose 0.3 percent in July from June, rising after a one month decline, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) released today. The July 2013 index level (114.3) was 20.5 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 July measured by the Freight TSI (114.3) was the second highest all-time level. The July index was 0.8 percent below the all-time high of 115.2 in December 2011 (Table 2A). BTS’ TSI records begin in 2000. See historical TSI data.

The June index was revised to 114.0 from 113.8 in the previous release. The April index was revised to 112.9 from 112.8.

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 increase of 0.3 percent in July freight transportation was driven by increases in rail intermodal and inland water shipments, with small increases in trucking and rail carloads.  The slow increase in July after a decrease in June is likely influenced by the decrease in manufacturing output in July.

Trend: The Freight TSI remained above its 2012 range for the seventh month in a row.  Beginning with January, every month in 2013 has exceeded the high point of 2012, 112.3 reached in December. The July 2013 level is the highest TSI freight has been in 2013, and is the second highest all-time level exceeded only by December 2011. After dipping to 94.9 in April 2009, the index rose 20.5 percent in the succeeding 51 months. For additional historical data, go to TSI data.

Index highs and lows: Freight shipments in July 2013 (114.3) were 20.5 percent higher than the recent low in April 2009 during the recession (94.9). The July 2013 level is down 0.8 percent from the historic peak reached in December 2011 (115.2).

Year to date: Freight shipments measured by the index were up 1.8 percent in July compared to the end of 2012 (Table 3).

Long-term trend: Freight shipments are up 3.1 percent in the five years from the recession level of July 2008 and are up 10.0 percent in the 10 years from in the 10 years from July 2003 (Table 5). 

Same month of previous year: July 2013 freight shipments were up 2.4 percent from July 2012 (Tables 4, 5).

Passenger Index: The TSI for passengers rose 0.2 percent in July from its June level (Table 6).  The Passenger TSI July 2013 level of 117.9 was 2.7 percent above the July 2012 level (Table 7). The index is up 1.2 percent in five years and up 21.9 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 rose 0.2 percent in July from its June level (Table 8). The combined TSI July 2013 level of 115.3 was 2.5 percent above the July 2012 level (Table 9). The combined index is up 2.5 percent in five years and up 13.1 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 months data are added.

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 August 2013 index is scheduled for October 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.

 

Table 1: Freight, Passenger and Combined Transportation Services Indexes Since January 2013

Percent Change from Previous Month

(Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly Average of 2000 = 100)

  Freight Passenger Combined
Index Pct. Change Index Pct. Change Index Pct. Change
January 112.4 0.1 116.8 0.6 113.7 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 112.9 -0.9 116.8 0.4 114.0 -0.6
May 114.1 1.1 117.4 0.6 115.1 1.0
June 114.0 -0.1 117.7 0.2 115.1 0.0
July 114.3 0.3 117.9 0.2 115.3 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 -0.9
May 0.6 -2.2 0.1 1.1
June -0.3 2.1 0.4 -0.1
July 0.6 0.2 -0.1 0.3
August -0.4 0.6 -0.6  
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 104.0 109.3 110.6 113.9
April 104.7 108.9 111.2 112.9
May 105.4 106.5 111.3 114.1
June 105.1 108.7 111.8 114.0
July 105.8 109.0 111.6 114.3
August 105.3 109.7 110.9  
September 106.3 110.5 111.1  
October 106.8 110.5 108.4  
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 July from December of the previous year

Year Freight Passenger Combined
2004 2.9 4.2 3.3
2005 0.7 2.4 1.2
2006 0.0 1.7 0.4
2007 -1.6 2.3 -0.5
2008 0.0 -0.1 0.0
2009 -2.3 -0.2 -1.7
2010 3.9 1.7 3.3
2011 0.5 2.1 0.9
2012 -3.1 -1.2 -2.6
2013 1.8 1.6 1.8

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

 

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

Percent change in the July Freight TSI

(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

  July Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2004 111.2 7.0
2005 111.8 0.5
2006 112.1 0.3
2007 108.7 -3.0
2008 110.8 1.9
2009 98.2 -11.4
2010 105.8 7.7
2011 109.0 3.0
2012 111.6 2.4
2013 114.3 2.4

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 (July to July)

Since July . . . Duration in years Freight TSI Percent change to July 2013 Passenger TSI Percent change to July 2013 Combined TSI Percent change to July 2013
2012 1 2.4 2.7 2.5
2011 2 4.9 2.0 4.1
2010 3 8.1 4.7 7.1
2009 4 16.4 6.9 13.5
2008 5 3.1 1.2 2.5
2007 6 5.1 1.2 3.9
2006 7 1.9 6.2 3.0
2005 8 2.2 7.8 3.6
2004 9 2.8 12.7 5.3
2003 10 10.0 21.9 13.1

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 -0.4 0.6
June 0.9 -0.6 -0.1 0.2
July 0.1 0.8 -0.9 0.2
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 July Passenger TSI

(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

  July Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2004 104.6 8.1
2005 109.4 4.5
2006 111.0 1.5
2007 116.6 5.0
2008 116.5 0.0
2009 110.3 -5.3
2010 112.6 2.1
2011 115.6 2.7
2012 114.8 -0.6
2013 117.9 2.7

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 -2.8 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 1.0
June 0.1 1.3 0.3 0.0
July 0.5 0.4 -0.4 0.2
August -0.3 -0.1 0.0  
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 July Combined TSI

(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

  July Combined TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2004 109.5 7.4
2005 111.3 1.6
2006 112.0 0.6
2007 111.0 -0.9
2008 112.5 1.4
2009 101.6 -9.7
2010 107.7 6.0
2011 110.8 2.9
2012 112.5 1.5
2013 115.3 2.5

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

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.