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Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 2.0 Percent in February from January

Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Rose 2.0 Percent in February from January

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DOT 16-09
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Wednesday, April 8, 2009 - The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) rose 2.0 percent in February from its January level, rising from its lowest level in more than five years, the U.S. Department of Transportations Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today (Table 1).

The February increase was only the second since August and, at 2.0 percent, was the largest one-month rise since January 2008 and the fourth largest in the last five years (Tables 1, 2).

The 0.3 percent decline in the first two months of 2009 was the third decline to start the year in the last four years. The index rose 2.9 percent during the first two months of 2008 (Table 3).

Other than the January low of 102.7, the Freight TSI has not been this low since September 2003 when it was 104.4. The Freight TSI is down 7.4 percent from its historic peak of 113.1 reached in November 2005. 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 6.0 percent decline from February 2008 to February 2009 left the freight index at its lowest February level since 2003 (Table 4).

Despite the February increase, the index is down 4.4 percent in the five years from February 2004, the third five-year decline in the 19-year history of TSI data. The first ever five-year decline was from December 2003 to December 2008. The index is still up 3.1 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 March index is scheduled for May 13.

BTS has issued a 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 rose 0.1 percent in February from its January level (Table 6). The Passenger TSI February 2009 level of 112.8 was 3.2 percent lower than the February 2008 level, the first February-to-February decrease since 2002 (Table 7). Despite the recent declines, the passenger index is up 11.6 percent in five years and 20.5 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 rose 1.5 percent in February from its January level (Table 8). The combined TSI February 2009 level of 106.4 was 5.3 percent lower than the February 2008 level, the third February-to-February decrease in the last four years (Table 9). The 5.3 percent decline from February to February left the combined index at its lowest February level since 2003 (Table 9). The combined index is down 0.6 percent in five years for the first five-year decline in the history of the combined index, but is up 7.4 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 October (Freight, Passenger and Combined) were revised because of revisions in the output data of the component transportation services. The October Freight TSI is 106.7, revised from the 109.1 reported in last months release. The October Passenger TSI is 114.9, revised from 114.3. The October Combined TSI is 108.3, revised from 110.1. The TSI for November, December, January and February 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 August 2008
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 
August 108.7 -2.3 116.8 -1.3 110.3 -2.0
September 107.0 -1.6 116.3 -0.4 108.9 -1.3
OctoberR 106.7 -0.3 114.9 -1.2 108.3 -0.5
NovemberP 107.6 0.9 114.0 -0.8 108.8 0.5
DecemberP 105.1 -2.3 113.0 -0.9 106.7 -1.9
JanuaryP 102.7 -2.3 112.6 -0.3 104.8 -1.8
FebruaryP 104.8 2.0 112.8 0.1 106.4 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, 2006-2009
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

 

2006 % Growth 2007 % Growth 2008 % Growth 2009 % Growth
January 0.4 -0.3 2.8 (P) -2.3
February -1.4 0.0 0.1 (P) 2.0
March 0.4 1.1 -2.9  
April -0.3 -0.4 1.1  
May 2.4 -0.1 0.4  
June -0.3 -0.7 -0.2  
July -0.9 0.1 1.4  
August -2.5 0.5 -2.3  
September 0.9 -0.9 -1.6  
October -0.1 1.7 (R) -0.3  
November -1.4 0.4 (P) 0.9  
December 0.6 -1.7 (P) -2.3  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

Table 3: Freight, Passenger and Combined Transportation Services Indexes Year-to-Date Change, 2000-2009
Percent change from December of previous year
December to February

Excel | CSV

Year Freight Passenger Combined
2000 -0.8 1.5 -0.1
2001 0.7 -0.3 0.4
2002 1.7 2.0 1.8
2003 -2.4 -2.8 -2.5
2004 1.4 0.6 1.2
2005 0.9 1.3 1.0
2006 -0.9 1.2 -0.4
2007 -0.3 -2.1 -0.7
2008 2.9 -0.6 2.0
2009P -0.3 -0.2 -0.3

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

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

Excel | CSV

 

Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2000 104.1 2.4
2001 98.5 -5.4
2002 98.9 0.4
2003 102.1 3.2
2004 109.6 7.4
2005 111.9 2.1
2006 110.2 -1.5
2007 108.5 -1.5
2008 111.5 2.7
2009P 104.8 -6.0

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 2009 (February to February)

Excel | CSV

Since February... Duration in years Freight TSI Percent change to February 2009 Passenger TSI Percent change to February 2009 Combined TSI Percent change to February 2009
2008 1 -6.0 -3.2 -5.3
2007 2 -3.4 0.9 -2.4
2006 3 -4.9 2.4 -3.2
2005 4 -6.4 4.7 -3.8
2004 5 -4.4 11.6 -0.6
2003 6 2.7 18.8 6.5
2002 7 5.9 21.2 9.5
2001 8 6.4 12.1 7.3
2000 9 0.6 16.6 4.6
1999 10 3.1 20.5 7.4

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: The percent changes to February 2009 are all preliminary.

Table 6: Passenger Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2006-2009
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

 

2006 % Growth 2007 % Growth 2008 % Growth 2009 % Growth
January 1.9 -0.1 -0.1 (P) -0.3
February -0.6 -2.0 -0.5 (P) 0.1
March 1.0 2.2 0.8  
April 0.3 0.5 0.7  
May 0.6 1.5 0.1  
June -1.0 -0.2 -0.1  
July 0.5 -0.1 0.0  
August 0.0 1.1 -1.3  
September 0.9 -0.1 -0.4  
October 0.4 0.7 (R) -1.2  
November -0.2 -1.5 (P) -0.8  
December 1.1 0.7 (P) -0.9  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

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

Excel | CSV

 

Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2000 96.7 3.4
2001 100.6 4.0
2002 93.1 -7.5
2003 95.0 2.0
2004 101.0 6.4
2005 107.8 6.7
2006 110.2 2.2
2007 111.7 1.4
2008 116.5 4.3
2009P 112.8 -3.2

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, 2006-2009
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

 

2006 % Growth 2007 % Growth 2008 % Growth 2009 % Growth
January 0.8 -0.3 2.1 (P) -1.8
February -1.2 -0.5 -0.1 (P) 1.5
March 0.6 1.4 -2.0  
April -0.1 -0.2 1.0  
May 2.0 0.3 0.3  
June -0.4 -0.6 -0.1  
July -0.6 0.0 1.0  
August -1.9 0.7 -2.0  
September 0.9 -0.7 -1.3  
October 0.1 1.4 (R) -0.5  
November -1.1 -0.1 (P) 0.5  
December 0.7 -1.1 (P) -1.9  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

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

Excel | CSV

 

TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2000 101.7 2.7
2001 99.2 -2.5
2002 97.1 -2.1
2003 99.9 2.9
2004 107.0 7.1
2005 110.6 3.3
2006 109.9 -0.6
2007 109.0 -0.8
2008 112.4 3.1
2009P 106.4 -5.3

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.