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Freight Shipments Rose 2.6% in June from May

Freight Shipments Rose 2.6% in June from May

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BTS 40-11
Dave Smallen
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Freight Transportation Services Index, July 2009-June 2011

Table Version | Excel | CSV

Freight Transportation Services Index, July 2009-June 2011

Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011 - The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry rose 2.6 percent in June from May, rising after two monthly declines, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics' (BTS) Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) released today (Table 1).

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that freight shipments in June measured by the Freight TSI rose to their second highest level since August 2008, exceeded only by those in March (Table 2A). The 2.6 percent May-to-June increase was the biggest month-to-month rise since November 2009 (Table 2).

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.

Trend: Freight shipments have increased in 18 of the last 26 months rising 1.3 percent in the past six months (Table 2). Shipments rose 14.5 percent over the last 26 months, starting in May 2009 but after declining 15.5 percent in the previous 15 months shipment remain below the February 2008 level. In June 2011, freight shipments returned to about the same level as August 2008 which was the start of six straight months of decline (Table 2A). For additional historic data, go to http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml.

Year-to-date: For the first six months of 2011, freight shipments measured by the index were up 1.3 percent (Table 3).

Index highs and lows: Freight shipments in June (108.3 on the index) rose 14.9 percent from the recent low in April 2009 (94.3). In April 2009, freight shipments were at their lowest level since June 1997 (92.3). The June 2011 level is down 4.4 percent from the historic freight shipment peak reached in January 2005 (113.3).

Long-term trend: Freight shipments are down 3.2 percent in the five years from June 2006. Shipments are up 9.9 percent in the 10 years from June 2001 despite recent declines (Table 5).

Same month of previous year: Although freight shipments rose 4.1 percent from June 2010 to June 2011, they remain below the early recession level of June 2008 (109.7) and the all-time high for the month of June (111.9) reached in 2006 (Table 4).

2nd Quarter Changes: The Freight TSI fell 0.2 percent in the second quarter, the first quarterly decline since the second quarter of 2009 (Table 10).

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. 14.

For a video explanation of the TSI, see Overview of the Transportation Services Index. A BTS report explaining the TSI, Transportation Services Index and the Economy, is available for download.

Passenger Index: The TSI for passengers fell 0.5 percent in June from its May level (Table 6). The Passenger TSI June 2011 level of 115.7 was 2.8 percent above the June 2010 level (Table 7). The index is up 3.9 percent in five years and up 13.8 percent in 10 years (Table 5). The Passenger TSI rose 2.3 percent in the second quarter, following two consecutive quarterly declines (Table 11).

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 Index: The combined freight and passenger TSI rose 1.7 percent in June from its May level (Table 8). The combined TSI June 2011 level of 110.3 was 3.8 percent higher than the June 2010 level (Table 9). The combined index is down 1.3 percent in five years and up 10.8 percent in 10 years despite recent declines (Table 5). The combined TSI rose 0.5 percent in the second quarter, for the eighth consecutive quarterly increase (Table 12). The combined TSI merges the freight and passenger indexes into a single index.

Revisions: 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 106.4, revised from the 106.5 reported in last month's release. The February Passenger TSI is 113.3, revised from 112.9. The February Combined TSI is 108.2, unchanged from 108.2. 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 March release is provided under 2011 Comprehensive Revision at http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml.

Table 1: Freight, Passenger and Combined Transportation Services Indexes since December 2010
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 106.9 2.4 113.3 -1.0 108.6 1.5
January 107.9 1.0 113.5 0.2 109.4 0.7
FebruaryR 106.4 -1.4 113.3 -0.2 108.2 -1.1
MarchP 108.6 2.0 113.1 -0.2 109.7 1.4
AprilP 107.5 -1.0 113.1 0.1 109.0 -0.7
MayP 105.6 -1.8 116.3 2.8 108.4 -0.5
JuneP 108.3 2.6 115.7 -0.5 110.3 1.7

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, 2008-2011
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

  2008 % Change 2009 % Change 2010 % Change 2011 % Change
January 1.8 -2.4 0.5 1.0
February -0.2 2.8 1.1 (R) -1.4
March -1.7 -4.0 1.2 (P) 2.0
April 0.6 -1.6 0.1 (P) -1.0
May -0.1 0.3 0.5 (P) -1.8
June -0.4 1.0 -0.1 (P) 2.6
July 0.2 1.6 0.3  
August -1.7 1.5 -0.4  
September -1.0 -0.5 1.1  
October -1.1 -0.7 0.2  
November -2.5 2.9 -0.7  
December -3.6 0.6 2.4  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

Table 2A: Freight Transportation Services Index by Month, 2008-2011

Excel | CSV

  2008 2009 2010 2011
January 111.8 97.1 101.1 107.9
February 111.6 99.8 102.3 (R) 106.4
March 109.6 95.9 103.6 (P) 108.6
April 110.3 94.3 103.7 (P) 107.5
May 110.2 94.6 104.2 (P) 105.6
June 109.7 95.5 104.0 (P) 108.3
July 109.9 97.1 104.3  
August 108.1 98.5 103.9  
September 107.0 98.0 105.0  
October 105.8 97.3 105.2  
November 103.2 100.1 104.4  
December 99.4 100.7 106.9  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

Table 3: Freight, Passenger and Combined Transportation Services Indexes Year-to-Date Change, 2002-2011
Percent change from December of previous year
December to June

Excel | CSV

Year Freight Passenger Combined
2002 3.9 5.5 4.3
2003 -1.9 -3.9 -2.4
2004 2.4 3.9 2.8
2005 0.8 2.4 1.3
2006 0.4 2.1 0.9
2007 -1.3 2.5 -0.2
2008 -0.2 -0.4 -0.3
2009 -3.9 -1.8 -3.3
2010 3.3 2.3 3.1
2011P 1.3 2.1 1.5

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

  June Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2002 101.6 3.1
2003 102.4 0.8
2004 110.0 7.4
2005 111.1 0.9
2006 111.9 0.8
2007 108.4 -3.2
2008 109.7 1.2
2009 95.5 -12.9
2010 104.0 8.9
2011P 108.3 4.1

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 2011 (June to June)

Excel | CSV

Since June... Duration in years Freight TSI Percent change to June 2011 Passenger TSI Percent change to June 2011 Combined TSI Percent change to June 2011
2010 1 4.1 2.8 3.8
2009 2 13.4 6.3 11.4
2008 3 -1.3 -0.8 -1.1
2007 4 0.0 -1.2 -0.4
2006 5 -3.2 3.9 -1.3
2005 6 -2.5 6.1 -0.1
2004 7 -1.6 10.8 1.8
2003 8 5.7 23.4 10.5
2002 9 6.6 22.1 10.8
2001 10 9.9 13.8 10.8

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: The percent changes to June 2011 are all preliminary.

Table 6: Passenger Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2008-2011
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

  2008 % Change 2009 % Change 2010 % Change 2011 % Change
January -0.2 -1.0 0.6 0.2
February 1.4 0.5 -2.1 (R) -0.2
March -1.3 -1.4 2.3 (P) -0.2
April 0.0 1.4 0.2 (P) 0.1
May 0.6 -1.7 0.6 (P) 2.8
June -0.9 0.5 0.8 (P) -0.5
July -0.1 1.5 -0.2  
August -1.3 -0.1 0.2  
September -1.4 -0.6 1.0  
October -0.8 0.1 0.9  
November -1.7 -0.1 -0.3  
December 0.1 0.2 -1.0  

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

  June Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2002 94.8 -6.8
2003 93.7 -1.1
2004 104.4 11.4
2005 109.0 4.5
2006 111.4 2.1
2007 117.1 5.1
2008 116.6 -0.4
2009 108.8 -6.7
2010 112.6 3.5
2011P 115.7 2.8

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, 2008-2011
Percent change from previous month

Excel | CSV

  2008 % Change 2009 % Change 2010 % Change 2011 % Change
January 1.2 -2.0 0.5 0.7
February 0.2 2.2 0.2 (R) -1.1
March -1.6 -3.3 1.5 (P) 1.4
April 0.4 -0.8 0.1 (P) -0.7
May 0.1 -0.3 0.5 (P) -0.5
June -0.6 0.9 0.1 (P) 1.7
July 0.1 1.6 0.1  
August -1.6 1.1 -0.2  
September -1.1 -0.5 1.0  
October -1.0 -0.5 0.4  
November -2.3 2.1 -0.6  
December -2.6 0.5 1.5  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

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

Excel | CSV

  June Combined TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2002 99.5 0.0
2003 99.8 0.3
2004 108.3 8.5
2005 110.4 2.0
2006 111.7 1.2
2007 110.7 -0.9
2008 111.5 0.8
2009 99.0 -11.2
2010 106.3 7.4
2011P 110.3 3.8

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, 2002-2011
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
2002 0.9 3.0 1.0 1.8
2003 -0.9 -1.0 1.8 3.0
2004 1.9 0.5 -0.4 0.6
2005 1.4 -0.6 -0.3 0.7
2006 -0.5 0.9 -0.6 -1.3
2007 0.9 -2.2 -0.2 1.6
2008 -0.2 0.1 -2.5 -7.0
2009 -3.6 -0.4 2.6 2.8
2010 2.9 0.5 0.9 1.9
2011 (P) 1.5 (P) -0.2    

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

Table 11: Passenger Transportation Services Index Change by Quarter, 2002-2011
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
2002 3.8 1.6 -1.0 3.9
2003 -4.0 0.1 4.5 2.5
2004 1.8 2.1 -0.9 2.9
2005 1.9 0.5 0.9 -0.9
2006 2.0 0.1 -0.8 3.3
2007 2.1 0.4 0.7 -0.6
2008 -0.1 -0.3 -2.7 -2.3
2009 -1.9 0.1 0.8 0.3
2010 0.7 1.6 1.0 -0.4
2011 (P) -0.2 (P) 2.3    

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

Table 12: Combined Transportation Services Index Change by Quarter, 2002-2011
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
2002 1.7 2.6 0.4 2.4
2003 -1.7 -0.7 2.6 2.9
2004 1.8 1.0 -0.5 1.2
2005 1.5 -0.2 0.0 0.2
2006 0.2 0.7 -0.7 0.0
2007 1.3 -1.5 0.0 1.0
2008 -0.2 0.0 -2.6 -5.8
2009 -3.1 -0.2 2.1 2.1
2010 2.3 0.8 0.9 1.2
2011 (P) 1.1 (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 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.