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Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 0.7 Percent in November from October

Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 0.7 Percent in November from October

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BTS 2-08
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Wednesday, January 9, 2008 - The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) rose 0.7 percent in November from its October level, rising for the second consecutive month, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today (Table 1).

The November rise was the fourth in the last five months (Table 2). At 110.2, the freight TSI is down 2.6 percent from its peak of 113.1 achieved in November 2005 and up 1.9 percent in the two months from its recent low of 108.1 in September 2007. For additional historical data, go to http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml.

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.

The November increase kept the freight index in positive territory for the year after having been down for the first nine months. For the first 11 months of 2007, the freight TSI was up 1.2 percent. In 2006, the index declined 2.7 percent during the 11-month period (Table 3).

The November freight TSI of 110.2 was up 1.8 percent from its November 2006 level, its best November-to-November performance in the last three years (Table 4).

The November index remains lower than November levels of the recent past, 1.1 percent lower than the November 2004 level and 2.6 percent lower than the November 2005 level. Despite declines from these recent November levels, the freight index has increased 6.3 percent in five years and 14.6 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 December index is scheduled for Feb. 13.

BTS has issued a new technical report explaining the TSI. BTS Technical Report: Transportation Services Index and the Economy is available for download at https://www.bts.gov/pdc/index.xml in the BTS bookstore.

Transportation Services Index for Passengers

The TSI for passengers fell 0.9 percent in November from its October level, falling for the second consecutive month (Table 6). The Passenger TSI November 2007 level of 115.0 was 1.8 percent higher than the November 2006 level, marking six consecutive annual increases since November 2001 (Table 7). For the first 11 months of 2007, the passenger TSI rose 0.7 percent, the smallest of the six consecutive increases during the first 11 months (Table 3). The passenger index is up 19.8 percent in five years and 28.3 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 November from its October level, rising for the second consecutive month (Table 8). The combined TSI November 2007 level of 111.0 was 1.8 percent higher than the November 2006 level (Table 9). For the first 11 months of 2007, the combined TSI rose 1.1 percent (Table 3). The combined index is up 9.6 percent in five years and 18.1 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 July (Freight, Passenger and Combined) were revised because of revisions in the output data of the component transportation services. The July Freight TSI is 108.4, revised from the 108.5 reported in the December release. The July Passenger TSI is 116.2, revised from 114.8. The July Combined TSI is 109.9, revised from 109.7. The TSI for August, September, October and November 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 May 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
May 109.2 -0.1 116.5 1.5 110.6 0.3
June 108.4 -0.7 116.2 -0.2 109.9 -0.6
JulyR 108.4 0.1 116.2 -0.1 109.9 0.0
AugustP 108.9 0.4 115.1 -0.9 110.1 0.1
SeptemberP 108.1 -0.7 117.2 1.8 109.9 -0.1
OctoberP 109.5 1.3 116.0 -1.0 110.7 0.7
NovemberP 110.2 0.7 115.0 -0.9 111.0 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 -0.4
May -0.4 0.0 2.4 -0.1
June 0.3 -0.4 -0.3 -0.7
July -0.2 -0.5 -0.9 (R) 0.1
August -0.4 1.0 -2.5 (P) 0.4
September 0.2 -1.3 0.9 (P) -0.7
October 0.2 -0.3 -0.1 (P) 1.3
November 1.2 2.8 -1.4 (P) 0.7
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 Year-to Date Change, 1998-2007
Percent change from December of previous year
December to November

Excel | CSV

Year Freight Passenger Combined
1998 4.1 3.7 4.0
1999 4.3 5.7 4.7
2000 -5.6 7.7 -1.6
2001 -0.2 -14.3 -4.7
2002 6.6 5.2 6.2
2003 0.7 2.2 1.1
2004 3.1 5.9 3.9
2005 1.9 3.2 2.3
2006 -2.7 3.8 -1.2
2007P 1.2 0.7 1.1

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

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

Excel | CSV

  Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1998 100.8 4.8
1999 104.1 3.3
2000 99.1 -4.8
2001 97.6 -1.5
2002 103.7 6.2
2003 105.3 1.6
2004 111.4 5.8
2005 113.1 1.6
2006 108.3 -4.3
2007P 110.2 1.8

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 (November to November)

Excel | CSV

Since November. . . Duration in years Freight TSI Percent change to November 2007 Passenger TSI Percent change to November 2007 Combined TSI Percent change to November 2007
2006 1 1.8 1.8 1.8
2005 2 -2.6 4.8 -0.9
2004 3 -1.1 8.1 1.1
2003 4 4.6 15.2 7.1
2002 5 6.3 19.8 9.6
2001 6 12.9 32.9 17.8
2000 7 11.2 12.1 10.8
1999 8 5.8 16.4 8.4
1998 9 9.3 23.3 12.9
1997 10 14.6 28.3 18.1

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: The percent changes to October 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 0.5
May -0.3 0.8 0.6 1.5
June 1.6 0.1 -1.0 -0.2
July 0.2 0.1 0.5 (R) -0.1
August 0.9 0.2 0.0 (P) -0.9
September -0.2 1.4 0.9 (P) 1.8
October 2.2 -1.9 0.4 (P) -1.0
November -0.9 0.7 -0.2 (P) -0.9
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 November Passenger TSI
(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1998 93.3 4.0
1999 98.8 6.0
2000 102.6 3.8
2001 86.5 -15.7
2002 96.0 11.0
2003 99.8 3.9
2004 106.4 6.6
2005 109.8 3.2
2006 113.0 2.9
2007P 115.0 1.8

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 -0.2
May -0.4 0.2 2.0 0.3
June 0.7 -0.3 -0.4 -0.6
July -0.1 -0.3 -0.6 (R) 0.0
August -0.1 0.8 -1.9 (P) 0.1
September 0.1 -0.6 0.9 (P) -0.1
October 0.7 -0.7 0.1 (P) 0.7
November 0.6 2.3 -1.1 (P) 0.3
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 November TSI
(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1998 98.3 4.6
1999 102.4 4.1
2000 100.2 -2.1
2001 94.3 -6.0
2002 101.4 7.5
2003 103.6 2.3
2004 109.8 6.0
2005 112.0 2.0
2006 109.1 -2.6
2007P 111.0 1.8

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.