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Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Fell 1.3 Percent in December from November

Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Fell 1.3 Percent in December from November

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BTS 7-08
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Wednesday, February 13, 2008 - The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) fell 1.3 percent in December from its November level turning down after two monthly increases in the largest monthly decline since November 2006, the U.S. Department of Transportations Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today (Table 1).

The December decline dropped the freight index into negative territory in 2007, declining 0.1 percent for the year. Increases in October and November turned the index positive after being down for the first nine months of the year through September (Table 3).

The 0.1 percent decline in 2007 was the second consecutive annual decline. In 2006, the index declined 2.2 percent (Table 3).

The December decline was the first after the index rose a combined 1.9 percent in the previous two months (Table 2). At 108.8, the freight TSI is down 3.8 percent from its peak of 113.1 achieved in November 2005 and up 0.7 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 December freight TSI of 108.8 was 0.1 percent lower than the December 2006 level and remains 2.2 percent below the December 2005 level and 2.0 percent lower than the December 2004 level (Table 4).

Despite declines from recent December levels, the freight index has increased 4.0 percent in five years and 12.4 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 January index is scheduled for March 12.

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 passenger index rose 2.5 percent during 2007, the sixth consecutive annual increase since 2001 (Table 3). The TSI for passengers rose 1.8 percent in December from its November level, rising after three monthly declines (Table 6). The Passenger TSI December 2007 level of 117.1 was 2.5 percent higher than the December 2006 level (Table 7). The passenger index is up 19.9 percent in five years and 30.2 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 index rose 0.6 percent during 2007 (Table 3). The combined TSI fell 0.5 percent in December from its November level, falling after two monthly increases (Table 8). The combined TSI December 2007 level of 110.5 was 0.6 percent higher than the December 2006 level (Table 9). The combined index is up 7.8 percent in five years and 16.8 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 August (Freight, Passenger and Combined) were revised because of revisions in the output data of the component transportation services. The August Freight TSI is 109.0, revised from the 108.9 reported in the January release. The August Passenger TSI is 117.4, revised from 115.1. The August Combined TSI is 110.7, revised from 110.1. The TSI for September, October, November and December 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 June 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
June 108.4 -0.7 116.2 -0.2 109.9 -0.6
July 108.4 0.1 116.2 -0.1 109.9 0.0
AugustR 109.0 0.5 117.4 1.1 110.7 0.7
SeptemberP 108.1 -0.8 117.2 -0.2 109.9 -0.7
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
DecemberP 108.8 -1.3 117.1 1.8 110.5 -0.5

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 0.1
August -0.4 1.0 -2.5 (R) 0.5
September 0.2 -1.3 0.9 (P) -0.8
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 (P) -1.3

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 December

Excel | CSV

Year Freight Passenger Combined
1998 3.2 4.0 3.5
1999 5.1 1.9 4.1
2000 -6.8 6.0 -2.9
2001 -0.6 -9.6 -3.4
2002 7.5 7.0 7.4
2003 3.3 2.9 3.2
2004 2.7 5.9 3.6
2005 0.2 2.3 0.8
2006 -2.2 4.9 -0.5
2007P -0.1 2.5 0.6

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

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

Excel | CSV

  Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1998 99.9 3.2
1999 105.0 5.1
2000 97.9 -6.8
2001 97.3 -0.6
2002 104.6 7.5
2003 108.1 3.3
2004 111.0 2.7
2005 111.3 0.2
2006 108.9 -2.2
2007P 108.8 -0.1

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 (December to December)

Excel | CSV

Since December. . . Duration in years Freight TSI Percent change to December 2007 Passenger TSI Percent change to December 2007 Combined TSI Percent change to December 2007
2006 1 -0.1 2.5 0.6
2005 2 -2.2 7.6 0.1
2004 3 -2.0 10.1 0.9
2003 4 0.7 16.6 4.4
2002 5 4.0 19.9 7.8
2001 6 11.8 28.3 15.7
2000 7 11.2 16.0 11.7
1999 8 3.6 22.9 8.4
1998 9 8.9 25.2 12.9
1997 10 12.4 30.2 16.8

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 -0.1
August 0.9 0.2 0.0 (R) 1.1
September -0.2 1.4 0.9 (P) -0.2
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 (P) 1.8

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

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

Excel | CSV

  Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1998 93.5 4.0
1999 95.3 1.9
2000 101.0 6.0
2001 91.3 -9.6
2002 97.6 7.0
2003 100.5 2.9
2004 106.4 5.9
2005 108.8 2.3
2006 114.2 4.9
2007P 117.1 2.5

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 0.0
August -0.1 0.8 -1.9 (R) 0.7
September 0.1 -0.6 0.9 (P) -0.7
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 (P) -0.5

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

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

Excel | CSV

  TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1998 97.8 3.5
1999 101.9 4.1
2000 98.9 -2.9
2001 95.4 -3.4
2002 102.5 7.4
2003 105.8 3.2
2004 109.5 3.6
2005 110.4 0.8
2006 109.8 -0.5
2007P 110.5 0.6

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

Table 10: Freight Transportation Services Index Change by Quarter, 1998-2007
Percentage change from the last month of the previous quarter

Excel | CSV

Year 1st Quarter (Jan-Mar) % Growth 2nd Quarter (Apr-Jun) % Growth 3rd Quarter (Jul-Sep) % Growth 4th Quarter (Oct-Dec) % Growth
1998 2.1 2.3 -1.3 0.1
1999 2.9 -0.4 1.7 0.9
2000 -4.8 0.3 -1.4 -0.9
2001 1.6 -0.7 -1.3 -0.1
2002 1.6 2.6 1.1 2.0
2003 -1.5 0.1 1.2 3.5
2004 1.6 0.6 -0.4 1.0
2005 0.9 -0.7 -0.7 0.8
2006 -0.5 1.8 -2.5 -0.9
2007 0.8 -1.3 (P) -0.3 (P) 0.7

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

Table 11: Passenger Transportation Services Index Change by Quarter, 1998-2007
Percentage change from the last month of the previous quarter

Excel | CSV

Year 1st Quarter (Jan-Mar) % Growth 2nd Quarter (Apr-Jun) % Growth 3rd Quarter (Jul-Sep) % Growth 4th Quarter (Oct-Dec) % Growth
1998 -0.4 0.3 0.3 3.9
1999 0.2 0.4 3.3 -1.9
2000 4.1 0.9 2.5 -1.6
2001 -0.5 -0.2 -21.0 15.2
2002 2.0 1.4 -0.6 4.1
2003 -4.0 -0.2 5.0 2.3
2004 1.6 2.0 0.9 1.2
2005 1.8 0.9 1.7 -2.1
2006 2.2 -0.1 1.4 1.3
2007 0.0 1.8 (P) 0.8 (P) 0.0

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

Table 12: Combined Transportation Services Index Change by Quarter, 1998-2007
Percentage change from the last month of the previous quarter

Excel | CSV

Year 1st Quarter (Jan-Mar) % Growth 2nd Quarter (Apr-Jun) % Growth 3rd Quarter (Jul-Sep) % Growth 4th Quarter (Oct-Dec) % Growth
1998 1.3 1.7 -0.8 1.2
1999 2.0 -0.2 2.2 0.0
2000 -2.1 0.5 -0.2 -1.2
2001 0.9 -0.5 -7.4 3.9
2002 1.7 2.3 0.6 2.6
2003 -2.2 0.0 2.2 3.2
2004 1.6 1.0 -0.1 1.0
2005 1.2 -0.3 -0.1 0.1
2006 0.1 1.4 -1.6 -0.4
2007 0.6 -0.5 (P) 0.0 (P) 0.5

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

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.