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Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Unchanged in June from May

Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) Unchanged in June from May

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BTS 38-09
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) was unchanged in June from its May level, remaining at its lowest level in 12 years, the U.S. Department of Transportations Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today (Table 1).

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the Freight TSI has declined in all but two of the last 11 months (Table 2). The index has declined 14.8 percent in that 11-month period. 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 freight shipments in ton-miles, which are then combined into one index.  The index measures the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight.

The June Freight TSI of 94.0 is the same as in May, remaining at its lowest level since June 1997 when it was 92.4. The Freight TSI is down 16.7 percent from its historic peak of 112.9 reached in May 2006.

The 6.3 percent decline in the first six months of 2009 was the largest in the last decade, exceeding the 4.6 percent decline for the first six months of 2000 (Table 3).

The 14.2 percent decline in the Freight TSI from June 2008 to June 2009 was the largest June-to-June decline in the 20 years for which the TSI is calculated (Table 4).

The freight index is also down 14.7 percent in the five years from June 2004, the ninth consecutive month in which the index declined for a five-year period. The number of consecutive five-year declines was revised from previous releases due to downward revisions in the freight index for the last three months of 2008. The index is down 8.1 percent in 10 years for the sixth-ever 10-year decline in the 20-year history of TSI data (Table 5). All these 10-year declines took place in first six months of 2009.

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 July index is scheduled for Sept. 10.

BTS has issued a report explaining the TSI. Transportation Services Index and the Economy is available for download in the BTS bookstore.

Transportation Services Index for Passengers

The TSI for passengers fell 0.3 percent in June from its May level (Table 6). The Passenger TSI June 2009 level of 109.1 was 7.2 percent below the June 2008 level, the largest June-to-June decrease in the 20-year history of the series, exceeding the 5.9 percent decrease in 2002 to which the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack contributed (Table 7). Despite recent declines, the index is up 4.8 percent in five years and 16.1 percent in 10 years (Table 5).

The passenger TSI measures the month-to-month changes in travel conducted in the for-hire passenger transportation sector. 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 fell 0.1 percent in June from its May level (Table 8). The combined TSI June 2009 level of 97.3 was 12.5 percent lower than the June 2008 level, leaving the index at its lowest June level since 1997 (Table 9). The combined index is down 10.2 percent in five years for the seventh five-year decline in the history of the combined index, and is down 2.2 percent in 10 years for the fourth-ever 10-year decline in the index (Table 5). All the five-year and 10-year declines took place consecutively in the past several months.

The combined TSI merges the freight and passenger indexes into a single index.

2nd Quarter Changes

On a quarterly basis, the Freight TSI fell 1.6 percent in the second quarter, for the fifth consecutive quarterly decline based on data from the Bi-Annual Revision (Table 10). The Passenger TSI rose 0.2 percent in the second quarter, the first increase after three quarterly decreases (Table 11). The Combined TSI fell 1.2 percent in the second quarter, falling for the sixth consecutive quarter based on data from the Bi-Annual Revision (Table 12).

More on TSI

NOTE: TSI numbers for February (Freight, Passenger and Combined) were revised because of revisions in the output data of the component transportation services. The February Freight TSI is 98.9, revised from the 99.1 reported in last months release. The February Passenger TSI is 109.5, revised from 110.2. The February Combined TSI is 101.2, revised from 101.6. The TSI for March, April, May and June 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, is available at http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml.

More information about the comprehensive revision conducted with the July release is provided under 2009 Comprehensive Revision at http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml.

Table 1: Freight, Passenger and Combined Transportation Services Indexes since December 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
December 100.3 -2.8 110.8 -0.9 102.6 -2.4
January 97.8 -2.5 110.0 -0.7 100.5 -2.1
FebruaryR 98.9 1.0 109.5 -0.4 101.2 0.7
MarchP 95.6 -3.3 108.8 -0.6 98.5 -2.7
AprilP 94.6 -1.0 110.3 1.4 98.1 -0.4
MayP 94.0 -0.6 109.4 -0.9 97.4 -0.7
JuneP 94.0 0.0 109.1 -0.3 97.3 -0.1

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 0.3 -0.6 2.3 -2.5
February -1.4 -0.3 -0.9 (R) 1.0
March 0.7 1.9 -1.4 (P) -3.3
April -0.4 -0.7 0.6 (P) -1.0
May 2.3 -0.4 0.0 (P) -0.6
June -0.8 -1.0 -0.8 (P) 0.0
July -0.8 -0.3 0.8  
August -2.3 0.7 -2.2  
September 2.5 -1.0 -1.6  
October -1.5 1.7 -0.6  
November -1.4 0.6 -2.2  
December 1.3 -0.1 -2.8  

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 June

Excel | CSV

Year Freight Passenger Combined
2000 -4.6 5.1 -1.6
2001 0.9 -0.6 0.5
2002 4.1 3.4 3.9
2003 -1.4 -4.4 -2.2
2004 2.1 3.3 2.4
2005 0.1 2.2 0.7
2006 0.7 1.3 0.8
2007 -1.1 1.5 -0.5
2008 -0.3 -0.7 -0.4
2009P -6.3 -1.5 -5.1

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

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

Excel | CSV

  Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2000 100.2 -2.0
2001 98.8 -1.4
2002 101.5 2.7
2003 103.1 1.7
2004 110.2 6.9
2005 111.0 0.7
2006 111.9 0.9
2007 108.1 -3.4
2008 109.5 1.3
2009P 94.0 -14.2

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 (June to June)

Excel | CSV

Since June... Duration in years Freight TSI Percent change to June 2009 Passenger TSI Percent change to June 2009 Combined TSI Percent change to June 2009
2008 1 -14.2 -7.2 -12.5
2007 2 -13.0 -6.3 -11.4
2006 3 -16.0 -1.5 -12.6
2005 4 -15.3 0.1 -11.7
2004 5 -14.7 4.8 -10.2
2003 6 -8.9 16.5 -2.9
2002 7 -7.4 15.6 -2.0
2001 8 -4.9 8.8 -2.0
2000 9 -6.2 9.0 -2.8
1999 10 -8.1 16.1 -2.2

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: The percent changes to June 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 1.3 0.3 -0.2 -0.7
February -0.1 -0.7 -1.0 (R) -0.4
March 0.3 2.0 0.2 (P) -0.6
April 0.5 -0.3 1.1 (P) 1.4
May 0.2 2.4 -0.5 (P) -0.9
June -0.9 -2.1 -0.4 (P) -0.3
July 0.2 -0.3 -0.2  
August -0.9 1.0 -1.1  
September 1.1 1.4 -0.6  
October 1.3 -0.8 -1.4  
November 0.9 -0.5 -1.8  
December 1.0 0.9 -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 June Passenger TSI
(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2000 100.1 6.5
2001 100.3 0.2
2002 94.3 -5.9
2003 93.6 -0.7
2004 104.1 11.2
2005 109.0 4.7
2006 110.8 1.7
2007 116.4 5.1
2008 117.5 1.0
2009P 109.1 -7.2

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 0.5 -0.4 1.7 -2.1
February -1.0 -0.4 -0.9 (R) 0.7
March 0.6 1.9 -1.0 (P) -2.7
April -0.1 -0.6 0.7 (P) -0.4
May 1.7 0.3 -0.1 (P) -0.7
June -0.8 -1.3 -0.7 (P) -0.1
July -0.6 -0.3 0.6  
August -2.0 0.8 -2.0  
September 2.2 -0.4 -1.3  
October -0.8 1.1 -0.8  
November -0.9 0.3 -2.1  
December 1.2 0.2 -2.4  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

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

Excel | CSV

  TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2000 100.2 0.6
2001 99.3 -0.9
2002 99.3 0.0
2003 100.3 1.0
2004 108.4 8.1
2005 110.2 1.7
2006 111.4 1.1
2007 109.9 -1.4
2008 111.2 1.2
2009P 97.3 -12.5

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, 2000-2009
Percent 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
2000 -5.1 0.5 -1.3 -1.0
2001 1.4 -0.5 -1.4 0.0
2002 1.3 2.8 1.1 1.9
2003 -1.4 0.0 1.3 3.3
2004 1.6 0.5 -0.3 0.8
2005 0.8 -0.7 -0.5 0.7
2006 -0.4 1.1 -0.7 -1.6
2007 0.9 -2.0 -0.6 2.2
2008 0.0 -0.3 -3.0 -5.5
2009 (P) -4.8 (P) -1.6    

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

Table 11: Passenger Transportation Services Index Change by Quarter, 2000-2009
Percent 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
2000 4.1 1.0 2.6 -1.8
2001 -0.5 -0.1 -21.1 15.2
2002 2.3 1.1 -0.5 4.4
2003 -4.2 -0.1 4.9 2.6
2004 1.4 1.8 0.5 1.9
2005 2.0 0.2 1.5 -1.1
2006 1.5 -0.2 0.3 3.2
2007 1.5 -0.1 2.1 -0.4
2008 -1.0 0.3 -1.8 -4.0
2009 (P) -1.7 (P) 0.2    

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

Table 12: Combined Transportation Services Index Change by Quarter, 2000-2009
Percent 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
2000 -2.3 0.7 -0.1 -1.3
2001 0.8 -0.3 -7.5 4.0
2002 1.6 2.3 0.6 2.6
2003 -2.2 0.0 2.3 3.1
2004 1.6 0.8 -0.1 1.1
2005 1.1 -0.5 0.0 0.2
2006 0.1 0.7 -0.5 -0.4
2007 1.0 -1.5 0.1 1.6
2008 -0.3 -0.1 -2.7 -5.2
2009 (P) -4.0 (P) -1.2    

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 freight index measure changes in freight shipments while the passenger index measures changes in passenger travel.

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.