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Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 0.4 Percent in August from July

Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 0.4 Percent in August from July

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BTS 46-07
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 - The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) rose 0.4 percent in August from its July level, rising after two consecutive monthly declines, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today (Table 1).

The August rise was only the second in the past five months (Table 2). At 108.9, the freight TSI is down 3.7 percent from its peak of 113.1 achieved in November 2005 and up 0.6 percent from its recent low of 108.3 in November 2006.

The freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in the output of services provided by the for-hire freight transportation industries. The index consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight.

For the first eight months of 2007, the freight TSI was up by less than 0.1 percent. The freight TSI had been down 0.3 percent through the first seven months of the year but the August increase of 0.4 percent turned the index slightly positive for the first eight months. The small increase kept the TSI from recording its third decline in the past five years for the first eight months of the year (Table 3).

The August freight TSI of 108.9 was unchanged from its August 2006 level, leaving it below the August 2004 level after last year's 2.6 percent August-to-August decrease. The freight TSI has not increased from one August to the next since 2004 to 2005 (Table 4). For additional historical data, go to http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml.

The August index is at its lowest August level since August 2003, 2.6 percent lower than the August 2005 level and 0.7 percent lower than the August 2004 level. Despite the recent declines, the freight index has increased 6.2 percent in five years and 15.6 percent in 10 years (Table 5).

The TSI is an index of the month-to-month changes in the output of services provided by for-hire transportation industries. It includes historic data from 1990 to the present. The TSI is still under development and is considered experimental. The seasonally adjusted index measures changes from the monthly average of the base year of 2000. Release of the September index is scheduled for Nov. 14.

Transportation Services Index for Passengers

The TSI for passengers rose 0.2 percent in August from its July level, rising for the second consecutive month (Table 6). The Passenger TSI August 2007 level of 115.1 was 3.1 percent higher than the August 2006 level, the fifth consecutive annual increase (Table 7). For the first eight months of 2007, the passenger TSI rose 0.8 percent, the fourth consecutive year in which the index has increased during the first eight months but the rate of growth has declined each year (Table 3). The passenger index is up 20.7 percent in five years and 30.9 percent in 10 years (Table 5).

The passenger TSI measures the month-to-month changes in the output of services provided by the for-hire passenger transportation industries. The seasonally adjusted index consists of data from air, local transit and intercity rail.

Combined Freight and Passenger Index

The combined freight and passenger TSI rose 0.3 percent in August from its July level, the first increase after two consecutive monthly declines (Table 8). The combined TSI August 2007 level of 110.1 was 0.7 percent higher than the August 2006 level (Table 9). For the first eight months of 2007, the combined TSI rose 0.2 percent, following a 1.0 percent decline in the December-to- August period one year ago (Table 3). The combined index is up 9.7 percent in five years and 19.4 percent in 10 years (Table 5).

The combined TSI merges the freight and passenger indexes into a single index.

More on TSI

Note:TSI numbers for April (Freight, Passenger and Combined) were revised because of revisions in the output data of the component transportation services. The April Freight TSI is 109.3, revised from the 109.6 reported in the September release. The April Passenger TSI is 114.7, revised from 115.4. The April Combined TSI is 110.3, revised from 110.7. 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. More information about the monthly revision policy, the 2007 comprehensive revision conducted with the July release and the TSI index is available at http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml.

Table 1: Freight, Passenger and Combined Transportation Services Indexes Since February 2007
Percent Change by Month
(Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly Average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  Freight Passenger Combined
Index Pct. Change Index Pct. Change Index Pct. Change
February 108.5 0.0 111.7 -2.0 109.0 -0.5
March 109.8 1.1 114.2 2.2 110.5 1.4
AprilR 109.3 -0.4 114.7 0.5 110.3 -0.2
MayP 109.7 0.3 115.5 0.7 110.8 0.4
JuneP 108.9 -0.7 114.7 -0.7 110.0 -0.7
JulyP 108.5 -0.4 114.8 0.1 109.7 -0.2
AugustP 108.9 0.4 115.1 0.2 110.1 0.3

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 2: Freight Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2004-2007
Percent Change from Previous Month

Excel | CSV

  2004
% Growth
2005
% Growth
2006
% Growth
2007
% Growth
January -1.5 1.7 0.4 -0.3
February 3.0 -0.9 -1.4 0.0
March 0.2 0.1 0.4 1.1
April 0.7 -0.3 -0.3 (R) -0.4
May -0.4 0.0 2.4 (P) 0.3
June 0.3 -0.4 -0.3 (P) -0.7
July -0.2 -0.5 -0.9 (P) -0.4
August -0.4 1.0 -2.5 (P) 0.4
September 0.2 -1.3 0.9  
October 0.2 -0.3 -0.1  
November 1.2 2.8 -1.4  
December -0.4 -1.7 0.6  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

Table 3: Freight, Passenger and Combined Transportation Services Indexes Annual Change, 1998-2007
Percent Change from December of Previous Year
December to August

Excel | CSV

Year Freight Passenger Combined
1998 3.6 2.6 3.3
1999 2.9 2.2 2.7
2000 -3.9 5.4 -1.0
2001 2.5 2.2 2.4
2002 5.4 4.5 5.1
2003 -1.2 -0.6 -1.0
2004 1.5 4.8 2.4
2005 0.8 3.0 1.4
2006 -2.1 2.6 -1.0
2007P 0.0 0.8 0.2

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

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

Excel | CSV

  Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1998 100.3 6.4
1999 102.8 2.5
2000 100.9 -1.8
2001 100.3 -0.6
2002 102.5 2.2
2003 103.4 0.8
2004 109.7 6.1
2005 111.8 2.0
2006 108.9 -2.6
2007P 108.9 0.0

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 5: Transportation Services Indexes from Previous Years
Percent Change to 2007 (August to August)

Excel | CSV

Since August ... Duration in years Freight TSI Percent change to August 2007 Passenger TSI Percent change to August 2007 Combined TSI Percent change to August 2007
2006 1 0.0 3.1 0.7
2005 2 -2.6 5.0 -0.8
2004 3 -0.7 9.3 1.6
2003 4 5.3 18.6 8.5
2002 5 6.2 20.7 9.7
2001 6 8.5 11.6 8.7
2000 7 7.9 14.6 9.2
1999 8 5.9 20.3 9.5
1998 9 8.6 24.7 12.7
1997 10 15.6 30.9 19.4

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: The percent changes to August 2007 are all preliminary

Table 6: Passenger Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2004-2007
Percent Change from Previous Month

Excel | CSV

  2004
% Growth
2005
% Growth
2006
% Growth
2007
% Growth
January -1.2 1.4 1.9 -0.1
February 1.8 -0.1 -0.6 -2.0
March 1.1 0.5 1.0 2.2
April 0.7 0.0 0.3 (R) 0.5
May -0.3 0.8 0.6 (P) 0.7
June 1.6 0.1 -1.0 (P) -0.7
July 0.2 0.1 0.5 (P) 0.1
August 0.9 0.2 0.0 (P) 0.2
September -0.2 1.4 0.9  
October 2.2 -1.9 0.4  
November -0.9 0.7 -0.2  
December -0.1 -0.9 1.1  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

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

Excel | CSV

  Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1998 92.3 4.9
1999 95.6 3.6
2000 100.5 5.0
2001 103.2 2.7
2002 95.3 -7.6
2003 97.1 1.8
2004 105.3 8.5
2005 109.6 4.1
2006 111.7 1.9
2007P 115.1 3.1

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 8: Combined Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2004-2007
Percent Change from Previous Month

Excel | CSV

  2004
% Growth
2005
% Growth
2006
% Growth
2007
% Growth
January -1.4 1.6 0.8 -0.3
February 2.6 -0.7 -1.2 -0.5
March 0.4 0.2 0.6 1.4
April 0.7 -0.2 -0.1 (R) -0.2
May -0.4 0.2 2.0 (P) 0.4
June 0.7 -0.3 -0.4 (P) -0.7
July -0.1 -0.3 -0.6 (P) -0.2
August -0.1 0.8 -1.9 (P) 0.3
September 0.1 -0.6 0.9  
October 0.7 -0.7 0.1  
November 0.6 2.3 -1.1  
December -0.3 -1.5 0.7  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

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

Excel | CSV

  TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1998 97.7 6.0
1999 100.5 2.9
2000 100.8 0.3
2001 101.2 0.4
2002 100.3 -0.9
2003 101.4 1.1
2004 108.3 6.7
2005 111.0 2.5
2006 109.3 -1.6
2007P 110.1 0.7

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.