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Transportation Services Index (TSI) Fell 2.5 Percent in August from July

Transportation Services Index (TSI) Fell 2.5 Percent in August from July

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BTS 47-06
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Friday, Oct. 6, 2006 - The Transportation Services Index (TSI) fell 2.5 percent in August from its July level, the largest monthly decline in five years, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today (Table 1).

The 2.5 percent decline from July to August is the biggest monthly decline since the index dropped 9.3 percent in September 2001. The decline in August was the third consecutive monthly decline, the longest string of monthly declines since five consecutive monthly declines ending in October 2005 (Table 2). For historical data prior to 2003, go to http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml.

For the first eight months of 2006, the TSI, a combination of the freight and passenger indexes, fell 1.6 percent, the first December-to-August decline since 2003. It was the biggest decline in the eight-month period in at least a decade (Table 3).

The August level of 108.7 for the combined freight and passenger index was 2.2 percent lower than the August 2005 level, the first decline from August of the previous year since August 2002 (Table 4). The August level was 8.0 percent higher than the August level of the base year of 2000 (Table 5).

TSI is a single seasonally adjusted index of the month-to-month changes in the output of services provided by the for-hire transportation industries, including railroad, air, truck, inland waterways, pipeline, and local transit.

The index includes historic data from 1990 to the present.  The TSI is still under development and is considered experimental.  The index measures changes from the monthly average of the base year of 2000. Release of the September index is scheduled for Nov. 7.

Transportation Services Index for Freight

The TSI for freight fell 3.2 percent in August from the July level, turning down for the third consecutive month (Table 6). It was the biggest monthly decline in the freight index since September 2001 (http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml). The Freight TSI fell from 112.0 in August 2005 to 108.1 in August 2006, the first decline from August of the previous year since 2001 and the largest August-to-August decline in the period covered by the index (Table 7). For the first eight months of 2006, the Freight TSI fell 2.6 percent, the first decline in the December-to-August period since 2003 but the biggest decline in the period since 2000 (Table 3).

Transportation Services Index for Passengers

The TSI for passengers fell 1.2 percent in August from the July level, turning down after a one-month rise (Table 8). The Passenger TSI August 2006 level fell 0.1 percent from the August 2005 level, the first August-to-August decline since 2002 (Table 9). For the first eight months of 2006, the Passenger TSI fell 0.6 percent, the first December-to- August decline since 2003 (Table 3).

More on TSI

NOTE:TSI numbers for April 2006 (Total, Freight, and Passenger) were revised because of revisions in the output data of the component transportation services. The April TSI is 110.5, revised from the 111.2 reported in the September release. The April Freight TSI is 109.6, revised from 111.0. The March Passenger TSI is 111.6, revised from 110.5. The TSI for May, June, July and August are preliminary.

TSI revision policy: TSI is updated monthly with the latest four months' index numbers considered preliminary.  Each month BTS releases the latest preliminary TSI, and replaces the oldest preliminary TSI with a revised TSI.  All other revisions are held until an annual comprehensive revision of the TSI which will be released at the end of the calendar year. More information about the revision policy and the TSI index is available at http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml.

Table 1: Transportation Services Index Since February 2006
Percent Change by Month
(Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly Average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

Month TSI Freight Passenger
Index Pct. Change Index Pct. Change Index Pct. Change
February 109.4 -1.3 109.7 -1.3 108.7 -1.3
March 110.9 1.3 110.6 0.9 111.0 2.1
AprilR 110.5 -0.3 109.6 -0.9 111.6 0.5
MayP 112.4 1.7 113.2 3.2 110.2 -1.3
JuneP 111.9 -0.4 112.6 -0.5 110.0 -0.2
JulyP 111.5 -0.4 111.7 -0.8 110.2 0.2
AugustP 108.7 -2.5 108.1 -3.2 108.8 -1.2

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 2: Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2003-2006
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

Month 2003 % Growth 2004 % Growth 2005 % Growth 2006 % Growth
January -1.0 -1.4 1.5 0.3
February -1.9 2.8 -1.4 -1.3
March 0.9 0.7 1.5 1.3
April -0.5 0.7 0.0 (R) -0.3
May -0.2 -0.4 0.4 (P) 1.7
June 1.0 1.0 -0.5 (P) -0.4
July 1.3 -0.2 -0.1 (P) -0.4
August -0.3 -0.4 -0.1 (P) -2.5
September 1.1 0.5 -0.3  
October 0.7 0.1 -0.9  
November -0.1 0.9 1.6  
December 2.3 -0.3 -0.9  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

Table 3: Transportation Services Index Year-to-Date Change, 1997-2006
Percent change from December of previous year
December to August

Excel | CSV

Year TSI Freight Passenger
1997 5.0 6.3 2.4
1998 3.0 3.7 1.6
1999 3.4 3.3 3.4
2000 -1.3 -3.9 5.1
2001 2.9 3.0 2.8
2002 6.1 5.9 6.6
2003 -0.7 -0.6 -1.0
2004 2.8 2.0 4.7
2005 1.2 0.7 2.1
2006P -1.6 -2.6 -0.6

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

Table 4: Transportation Services Index from Year-to-Year
Percent change in the August TSI
(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

Year TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1997 92.9 6.2
1998 97.8 5.3
1999 101.0 3.2
2000 100.7 -0.3
2001 101.5 0.8
2002 100.8 -0.6
2003 101.7 0.9
2004 108.7 6.9
2005 111.2 2.3
2006P 108.7 -2.2

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 5: Transportation Services Index from Previous Years
Percent Change to 2006 (August to August)

Excel | CSV

Percent change to August 2006 Since August. . . Duration in years
-2.2 2005 1
0.0 2004 2
6.9 2003 3
7.8 2002 4
7.1 2001 5
8.0 2000 6
7.7 1999 7
11.1 1998 8
17.1 1997 9

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: The percent changes to August 2006 are all preliminary.

Table 6: Freight Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2003-2006
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

Month 2003 % Growth 2004 % Growth 2005 % Growth 2006 % Growth
January -1.1 -1.6 1.4 0.2
February -1.4 2.6 -1.2 -1.3
March 1.2 0.9 1.0 0.9
April 0.7 0.6 0.0 (R) -0.9
May -1.2 -0.3 0.2 (P) 3.2
June 0.8 0.8 -0.5 (P) -0.5
July 0.5 -0.5 -0.5 (P) -0.8
August -0.1 -0.6 0.4 (P) -3.2
September 0.6 0.5 -1.3  
October 1.3 -0.5 -0.6  
November -0.8 1.3 2.0  
December 2.9 -0.4 -1.1  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

Table 7: Freight Transportation Services Index from Year-to-Year
Percent change in the August Freight TSI
(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

Year Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1997 94.6 7.3
1998 100.7 6.5
1999 103.2 2.5
2000 101.1 -2.0
2001 100.7 -0.4
2002 103.0 2.3
2003 103.8 0.8
2004 110.2 6.2
2005 112.0 1.7
2006P 108.1 -3.5

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 8: Passenger Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2003-2006
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

Month 2003 % Growth 2004 % Growth 2005 % Growth 2006 % Growth
January -0.8 -1.1 1.5 0.6
February -3.1 3.4 -2.0 -1.3
March 0.2 0.1 2.9 2.1
April -3.7 0.8 -0.1 (R) 0.5
May 2.3 -0.7 0.8 (P) -1.3
June 1.5 1.6 -0.5 (P) -0.2
July 3.4 0.5 0.9 (P) 0.2
August -0.6 0.1 -1.3 (P) -1.2
September 2.2 0.5 2.3  
October -0.7 1.6 -1.9  
November 1.3 -0.2 0.4  
December 1.1 -0.2 -0.4  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

Table 9: Passenger Transportation Services Index from Year-to-Year
Percent change in the August Passenger TSI
(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

Year Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1997 88.8 4.0
1998 91.4 2.9
1999 95.8 4.8
2000 99.9 4.3
2001 103.2 3.3
2002 95.6 -7.3
2003 96.6 1.0
2004 105.0 8.8
2005 109.0 3.8
2006P 108.8 -0.1

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

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 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 TSI is still under development and is therefore considered experimental. It is being examined for refinements in data sources, methodologies and interpretations.

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.