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Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) was Unchanged in April from March

Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) was Unchanged in April from March

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BTS 28-08
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Wednesday, June 11, 2008 - The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) was unchanged in April from its March level following the largest monthly decline since August 2006, the U.S. Department of Transportations Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today (Table 2).

Since an increase in January that was the largest in two years, the freight index has failed to advance for three consecutive months. The index was unchanged in February and April with a decline in March (Table 1). At 109.4 in April, the freight TSI was up 1.3 percent since its recent low of 108.0 in September but down 3.3 percent from its peak of 113.1 reached in November 2005. For additional historical data, go to http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml.

The 0.9 percent increase in the freight index since December marked the second consecutive year the index increased in the first four months (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 April freight TSI level of 109.4 was marginally higher than the April 2007 level of 109.3 and follows two consecutive April-to-April declines. The index remains below the level of 110.5 achieved four years ago in April 2004 (Table 4).

Despite declines from recent April levels, the freight index has increased 5.3 percent in five years and 8.9 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 May index is scheduled for July 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 was also unchanged in April from its March level following a one-month rise (Table 6). The Passenger TSI April 2008 level of 116.2 was 1.3 percent higher than the April 2007 level, marking five consecutive annual increases since April 2003 (Table 7). The passenger index declined for the first four months of the year for the first time since 2003 (Table 3). However, the passenger index is up 27.7 percent in five years and 27.5 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 reflected the lack of change in its component indexes and was unchanged in April from its March level following two monthly declines (Table 8). The combined TSI April 2008 level of 110.7 was 0.3 percent higher than the April 2007 level (Table 9). The combined index rose for the first four months of the year for the second consecutive year (Table 3). The combined index is up 10.7 percent in five years and 13.6 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 December (Freight, Passenger and Combined) were revised because of revisions in the output data of the component transportation services. The December Freight TSI is 108.4, revised from 108.8 reported in the May release. The December Passenger TSI is 117.3, revised from 117.1. The December Combined TSI is 110.2, revised from 110.5. The TSI for January, February, March and April 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 comprehensive revision conducted in July 2007 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 October 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
October 109.8 1.7 118.2 0.7 111.5 1.4
November 110.2 0.4 116.4 -1.5 111.4 -0.1
DecemberR 108.4 -1.7 117.3 0.7 110.2 -1.1
JanuaryP 111.5 2.9 115.5 -1.5 112.1 1.8
FebruaryP 111.5 0.0 114.1 -1.2 111.8 -0.3
MarchP 109.4 -1.9 116.2 1.8 110.7 -1.0
AprilP 109.4 0.0 116.2 0.0 110.7 0.0

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) 2.9
February -0.9 -1.4 0.0 (P) 0.0
March 0.1 0.4 1.1 (P) -1.9
April -0.3 -0.3 -0.4 (P) 0.0
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 -0.9  
October -0.3 -0.1 1.7  
November 2.8 -1.4 0.4  
December -1.7 0.6 (R) -1.7  

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 April

Excel | CSV

Year Freight Passenger Combined
1999 2.1 0.1 1.4
2000 -6.7 3.9 -3.5
2001 0.8 -0.2 0.4
2002 2.0 2.2 2.1
2003 -0.7 -6.8 -2.4
2004 2.3 2.3 2.3
2005 0.6 1.8 0.9
2006 -0.8 2.6 0.0
2007 0.4 0.4 0.4
2008P 0.9 -0.9 0.5

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

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

Excel | CSV

  Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1999 101.9 1.5
2000 98.0 -3.9
2001 98.6 0.6
2002 99.3 0.6
2003 103.8 4.6
2004 110.5 6.5
2005 111.7 1.0
2006 110.4 -1.2
2007 109.3 -0.9
2008P 109.4 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 2008 (April to April)

Excel | CSV

Since April
. . .
Duration in years Freight TSI Percent change to April 2008 Passenger TSI Percent change to April 2008 Combined TSI Percent change to April 2008
2007 1 0.0 1.3 0.3
2006 2 -0.9 4.1 0.3
2005 3 -2.1 7.3 0.1
2004 4 -1.1 13.0 2.3
2003 5 5.3 27.7 10.7
2002 6 10.2 24.6 13.6
2001 7 10.9 15.4 11.5
2000 8 11.6 17.4 12.6
1999 9 7.3 24.1 11.5
1998 10 8.9 27.5 13.6

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: The percent changes to April 2008 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) -1.5
February -0.1 -0.6 -2.0 (P) -1.2
March 0.5 1.0 2.2 (P) 1.8
April 0.0 0.3 0.5 (P) 0.0
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 -0.1  
October -1.9 0.4 0.7  
November 0.7 -0.2 -1.5  
December -0.9 1.1 (R) 0.7  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

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

Excel | CSV

  Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1999 93.6 2.7
2000 99.0 5.7
2001 100.7 1.7
2002 93.3 -7.4
2003 91.0 -2.4
2004 102.8 13.0
2005 108.3 5.3
2006 111.6 3.1
2007 114.7 2.8
2008P 116.2 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) 1.8
February -0.7 -1.2 -0.5 (P) -0.3
March 0.2 0.6 1.4 (P) -1.0
April -0.2 -0.1 -0.2 (P) 0.0
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 -0.7  
October -0.7 0.1 1.4  
November 2.3 -1.1 -0.1  
December -1.5 0.7 (R) -1.1  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

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

Excel | CSV

  TSI Percent change from same month previous year
1999 99.2 1.9
2000 98.3 -0.9
2001 99.3 1.0
2002 97.4 -1.9
2003 100.0 2.7
2004 108.2 8.2
2005 110.5 2.2
2006 110.4 -0.1
2007 110.3 -0.1
2008P 110.7 0.3

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.