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Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 2.4 Percent in January from December

Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 2.4 Percent in January from December

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BTS 12-08
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Wednesday, March 12, 2008 - The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) rose 2.4 percent in January from its December level, matching its largest monthly increase in the last two years, the U.S. Department of Transportations Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today (Table 1).

The January increase was the third rise in the last four months (Table 2). At 111.5, the freight TSI is down 1.5 percent from its peak of 113.1 achieved in November 2005 but up 3.2 percent in the four months since its recent low of 108.0 in September 2007. For additional historical data, go to http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml.

With the January increase of 2.4 percent, the freight index had its largest climb to start the year since the January 1993 increase of 4.2 percent (Table 3).

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 January freight TSI of 111.5 was 2.7 percent higher than the January 2007 level and remains 0.3 percent below the January 2006 level and 1.3 percent lower than the January 2005 level (Table 4).

Despite declines from recent January levels, the freight index has increased 7.9 percent in five years and 13.5 percent in 10 years (Table 5).

The TSI is a seasonally adjusted index that measures changes from the monthly average of the base year of 2000. It includes historic data from 1990 to the present.  Release of the February index is scheduled for April 9.

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 1.4 percent in January from its December level, falling after a one-month rise (Table 6). The Passenger TSI January 2008 level of 115.5 was 1.3 percent higher than the January 2007 level, marking six consecutive annual increases since January 2003 (Table 7). With the January decline, the passenger index dropped to start the year as it did in 2007 (Table 3). However, the passenger index is up 19.2 percent in five years and 27.6 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 1.5 percent in January from its December level, after a one-month decline (Table 8). The combined TSI January 2008 level of 112.1 was 2.4 percent higher than the January 2007 level (Table 9). With the January increase, the combined index started the year with an increase following a decline to start 2007 (Table 3). The combined index is up 10.7 percent in five years and 17.2 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 September (Freight, Passenger and Combined) were revised because of revisions in the output data of the component transportation services. The September Freight TSI is 108.0, revised from the 108.1 reported in the February release. The September Passenger TSI is 117.4, revised from 117.2. The September Combined TSI is unchanged from 109.9. The TSI for October, November, December and January 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 July 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
July 108.4 0.1 116.2 -0.1 109.9 0.0
August 109.0 0.5 117.4 1.1 110.7 0.7
SeptemberR 108.0 -0.9 117.4 -0.1 109.9 -0.7
OctoberP 109.5 1.4 116.0 -1.2 110.7 0.8
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
JanuaryP 111.5 2.4 115.5 -1.4 112.1 1.5

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, 2005-2008
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

  2005 % Growth 2006 % Growth 2007 % Growth 2008 % Growth
January 1.7 0.4 -0.3 (P) 2.4
February -0.9 -1.4 0.0  
March 0.1 0.4 1.1  
April -0.3 -0.3 -0.4  
May 0.0 2.4 -0.1  
June -0.4 -0.3 -0.7  
July -0.5 -0.9 0.1  
August 1.0 -2.5 0.5  
September -1.3 0.9 (R) -0.9  
October -0.3 -0.1 (P) 1.4  
November 2.8 -1.4 (P) 0.7  
December -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, 1999-2008
Percent change from December of previous year
December to January

Excel | CSV

Year Freight Passenger Combined
1999 0.0 -0.1 -0.1
2000 -0.7 0.1 -0.5
2001 1.4 0.6 1.1
2002 0.9 0.3 0.7
2003 -1.3 -0.8 -1.2
2004 -1.5 -1.2 -1.4
2005 1.7 1.4 1.6
2006 0.4 1.9 0.8
2007 -0.3 -0.1 -0.3
2008P 2.4 -1.4 1.5

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

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

Excel | CSV

  Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1999 99.8 1.7
2000 104.2 4.4
2001 99.2 -4.8
2002 98.2 -1.0
2003 103.3 5.2
2004 106.5 3.1
2005 112.9 6.0
2006 111.7 -1.0
2007 108.5 -2.9
2008P 111.5 2.7

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 2008 (January to January)

Excel | CSV

Since January. . . Duration in years Freight TSI Percent change to January 2008 Passenger TSI Percent change to January 2008 Combined TSI Percent change to January 2008
2007 1 2.7 1.3 2.4
2006 2 -0.3 4.1 0.8
2005 3 -1.3 7.0 0.7
2004 4 4.7 16.4 7.5
2003 5 7.9 19.2 10.7
2002 6 13.5 26.1 16.6
2001 7 12.4 13.7 12.1
2000 8 6.9 21.1 10.6
1999 9 11.6 23.6 14.7
1998 10 13.5 27.6 17.2

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: The percent changes to October 2007 are all preliminary.

Table 6: Passenger Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2005-2008
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

  2005 % Growth 2006 % Growth 2007 % Growth 2008 % Growth
January 1.4 1.9 -0.1 (P) -1.4
February -0.1 -0.6 -2.0  
March 0.5 1.0 2.2  
April 0.0 0.3 0.5  
May 0.8 0.6 1.5  
June 0.1 -1.0 -0.2  
July 0.1 0.5 -0.1  
August 0.2 0.0 1.1  
September 1.4 0.9 (R) -0.1  
October -1.9 0.4 (P) -1.2  
November 0.7 -0.2 (P) -0.9  
December -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 January Passenger TSI
(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1999 93.4 3.2
2000 95.3 2.1
2001 101.6 6.5
2002 91.5 -9.9
2003 96.8 5.8
2004 99.2 2.5
2005 107.9 8.7
2006 110.9 2.8
2007 114.0 2.8
2008P 115.5 1.3

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, 2005-2008
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

  2005 % Growth 2006 % Growth 2007 % Growth 2008 % Growth
January 1.6 0.8 -0.3 (P) 1.5
February -0.7 -1.2 -0.5  
March 0.2 0.6 1.4  
April -0.2 -0.1 -0.2  
May 0.2 2.0 0.3  
June -0.3 -0.4 -0.6  
July -0.3 -0.6 0.0  
August 0.8 -1.9 0.7  
September -0.6 0.9 (R) -0.7  
October -0.7 0.1 (P) 0.8  
November 2.3 -1.1 (P) 0.3  
December -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 January TSI
(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1999 97.8 2.2
2000 101.4 3.7
2001 100.0 -1.4
2002 96.2 -3.8
2003 101.3 5.4
2004 104.3 2.9
2005 111.3 6.8
2006 111.2 -0.1
2007 109.5 -1.6
2008P 112.1 2.4

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 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.