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Freight Shipments Unchanged in July from June

Freight Shipments Unchanged in July from June

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BTS 45-11
Dave Smallen
202-366-5568

Freight Transportation Services Index, August 2009-July 2011

Table Version | Excel | CSV

Freight Transportation Services Index, August 2009-July 2011

Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011 - The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry remained the same in July as in June, 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 the level of freight shipments in July, measured by the Freight TSI, remained at the second highest level since August 2008, exceeded only by March and equaled by June (Table 2A).

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 27 months but only in eight of the last 15 months (Tables 2, 2A). Shipments rose 14.5 percent over the last 27 months, starting from the low-point in May 2009 but after declining 15.5 percent in the previous 15 months shipments remain below the January 2008 level. In July 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 seven months of 2011, freight shipments measured by the index were up 1.3 percent (Table 3).

Index highs and lows: Freight shipments in July (108.3 on the index) rose 14.8 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 July 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 2.3 percent in the five years from July 2006. Shipments are up 10.0 percent in the 10 years from July 2001 despite recent declines (Table 5).

Same month of previous year: Although freight shipments rose 3.8 percent from July 2010 to July 2011, they remain below the level of July 2008 (109.9) and the all-time high for the month of July (110.9) reached in 2005 (Table 4).

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 August index is scheduled for Oct. 13.

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 rose 1.2 percent in July from its June level (Table 6). The Passenger TSI July 2011 level of 117.1 was 4.2 percent above the July 2010 level (Table 7). The index is up 5.5 percent in five years and up 14.5 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 Index: The combined freight and passenger TSI rose 0.3 percent in July from its June level (Table 8). The combined TSI July 2011 level of 110.6 was 3.9 percent higher than the July 2010 level (Table 9). The combined index is down 0.1 percent in five years and up 11.0 percent in 10 years despite recent declines (Table 5). The combined TSI merges the freight and passenger indexes into a single index.

Revisions: TSI numbers for March (Freight, Passenger and Combined) were revised because of revisions in the output data of the component transportation services. The March Freight TSI is unchanged from the 108.6 reported in last month's release. The March Passenger TSI is 114.3, revised from 113.1. The March Combined TSI is 110.1, revised from 109.7. The TSI for April, May, June and July 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
January 2011
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
January 107.9 1.0 113.5 0.2 109.4 0.7
February 106.4 -1.4 113.3 -0.2 108.2 -1.1
MarchR 108.6 2.0 114.3 0.9 110.1 1.7
AprilP 107.5 -1.0 113.1 -1.1 109.0 -1.0
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
JulyP 108.3 0.0 117.1 1.2 110.6 0.3

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 -1.4
March -1.7 -4.0 1.2 (R) 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 (P) 0.0
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 99.8 102.3 106.4
March 109.6 95.9 103.6 (R) 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 (P) 108.3
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 July

Excel | CSV

Year Freight Passenger Combined
2002 4.7 4.0 4.5
2003 -0.8 -1.0 -0.8
2004 2.8 4.3 3.2
2005 0.7 2.9 1.3
2006 -0.6 1.7 0.1
2007 -1.7 2.1 -0.6
2008 0.0 -0.5 -0.2
2009 -2.4 -0.4 -1.8
2010 3.6 2.2 3.2
2011P 1.3 3.4 1.9

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

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

Excel | CSV

  July Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2002 102.4 4.0
2003 103.6 1.1
2004 110.5 6.6
2005 110.9 0.4
2006 110.8 -0.1
2007 107.9 -2.6
2008 109.9 1.9
2009 97.1 -11.7
2010 104.3 7.4
2011P 108.3 3.8

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 (July to July)

Excel | CSV

Since July... Duration In years Freight TSI Percent change to July 2011 Passenger TSI Percent change to July 2011 Combined TSI Percent change to July 2011
2010 1 3.8 4.2 3.9
2009 2 11.5 6.1 10.0
2008 3 -1.5 0.5 -0.9
2007 4 0.4 0.4 0.4
2006 5 -2.3 5.5 -0.1
2005 6 -2.4 6.9 0.1
2004 7 -2.0 11.8 1.8
2003 8 4.5 21.3 9.1
2002 9 5.7 25.4 11.0
2001 10 10.0 14.5 11.0

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: The percent changes to July 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 -0.2
March -1.3 -1.4 2.3 (R) 0.9
April 0.0 1.4 0.2 (P) -1.1
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 (P) 1.2
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 July Passenger TSI
(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  July Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2002 93.4 -8.6
2003 96.5 3.3
2004 104.7 8.5
2005 109.6 4.6
2006 111.0 1.3
2007 116.6 5.1
2008 116.5 -0.1
2009 110.4 -5.2
2010 112.4 1.8
2011P 117.1 4.2

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, 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 -1.1
March -1.6 -3.3 1.5 (R) 1.7
April 0.4 -0.8 0.1 (P) -1.0
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 (P) 0.3
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 July Combined TSI
(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  July Combined TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2002 99.7 0.0
2003 101.4 1.7
2004 108.7 7.2
2005 110.5 1.6
2006 110.8 0.3
2007 110.2 -0.5
2008 111.7 1.3
2009 100.5 -10.0
2010 106.4 5.9
2011P 110.6 3.9

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 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.