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Freight Shipments Rose 0.1% in November from October

Freight Shipments Rose 0.1% in November from October

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Freight Transportation Services Index, December 2009-November 2011

Table Version | Excel | CSV

Freight Transportation Services Index, December 2009-November 2011

Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry rose 0.1 percent in November from October, rising after one monthly decrease, 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 at 109.5 the level of freight shipments, measured by the Freight TSI, declined slightly from the recent peak achieved in September, but still remained higher than any other month since July 2008 (Table 2A).

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments by mode of transportation 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: Shipments in November 2011 (109.5 on the index) were at the second highest level since July 2008 (109.9) after reaching the highest level in more than three years in September (109.6). July 2008, the previous high, was followed by six straight months of decline. After dipping to a recent low in April 2009 (94.3), freight shipments increased in 21 of the last 31 months, rising 16.1 percent during that period (Tables 2, 2A). For additional historic data, go to http://www.bts.gov/xml/tsi/src/index.xml.

Year-to-date: For the first 11 months of 2011, freight shipments measured by the index were up 2.4 percent (Table 3).

Index highs and lows: Freight shipments in November 2011 (109.5 on the index) rose 16.1 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 November 2011 level is down 3.4 percent from the historic freight shipment peak reached in January 2005 (113.3).

Long-term trend: Freight shipments are up 2.1 percent in the five years from November 2006 and up 12.0 percent in the 10 years from November 2001 despite declines in recent years (Table 5).

Same month of previous year: Although November 2011 freight shipments rose 4.9 percent from November 2010 and 9.4 percent from November 2009, they remain below the all-time high for the month of November (112.5) reached in 2005 (Tables 4, 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 December index is scheduled for Feb. 8.

For a webinar on the TSI, see Past Webinars. 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 November from its October level (Table 6). The Passenger TSI November 2011 level of 115.6 was 1.1 percent above the November 2010 level (Table 7). The index is up 2.2 percent in five years and up 32.7 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 fell by less than 0.1 percent in November from its October level (Table 8). The combined TSI November 2011 level of 111.1 was 3.8 percent above the November 2010 level (Table 9). The combined index is up 2.2 percent in five years and up 17.5 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 July (Freight, Passenger and Combined) were revised because of revisions in the output data of the component transportation services. The July Freight TSI is 107.6, revised from 108.3 reported in last month's release. The July Passenger TSI is 115.0, revised from 117.1. The July Combined TSI is 109.6, revised from 110.6. The TSI for August, September, October and November 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 May 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
May 105.2 -2.1 115.6 1.2 107.9 -1.2
June 107.8 2.5 114.9 -0.6 109.7 1.6
JulyR 107.6 -0.2 115.0 0.1 109.6 -0.1
AugustP 108.7 1.0 115.4 0.4 110.5 0.8
SeptemberP 109.6 0.9 116.5 0.9 111.4 0.9
OctoberP 109.4 -0.2 116.1 -0.3 111.2 -0.3
NovemberP 109.5 0.1 115.6 -0.5 111.1 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, 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 2.0
April 0.6 -1.6 0.1 -1.0
May -0.1 0.3 0.5 -2.1
June -0.4 1.0 -0.1 2.5
July 0.2 1.6 0.3 (R) -0.2
August -1.7 1.5 -0.4 (P) 1.0
September -1.0 -0.5 1.1 (P) 0.9
October -1.1 -0.7 0.2 (P) -0.2
November -2.5 2.9 -0.7 (P) 0.1
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 95.9 103.6 108.6
April 110.3 94.3 103.7 107.4
May 110.2 94.6 104.2 105.2
June 109.7 95.5 104.0 107.8
July 109.9 97.1 104.3 (R) 107.6
August 108.1 98.5 103.9 (P) 108.7
September 107.0 98.0 105.0 (P) 109.6
October 105.8 97.3 105.2 (P) 109.4
November 103.2 100.1 104.4 (P) 109.5
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 November

Excel | CSV

Year Freight Passenger Combined
2002 6.3 6.1 6.3
2003 1.3 1.3 1.3
2004 3.1 5.5 3.8
2005 2.1 2.9 2.4
2006 -3.8 3.6 -1.7
2007 -0.4 2.5 0.4
2008 -6.1 -5.5 -6.0
2009 0.7 -0.9 0.2
2010 3.7 4.0 3.8
2011P 2.4 2.0 2.3

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: P = preliminary

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

Excel | CSV

  November Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2002 104.0 6.4
2003 105.7 1.7
2004 110.7 4.7
2005 112.5 1.6
2006 107.2 -4.7
2007 109.3 1.9
2008 103.2 -5.6
2009 100.1 -2.9
2010 104.4 4.3
2011P 109.5 4.9

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 (November to November)

Excel | CSV

Since November... Duration in years Freight TSI Percent change to November 2011 Passenger TSI Percent change to November 2011 Combined TSI Percent change to November 2011
2010 1 4.9 1.1 3.8
2009 2 9.4 5.3 8.2
2008 3 6.1 4.5 5.7
2007 4 0.2 -1.3 -0.2
2006 5 2.1 2.2 2.2
2005 6 -2.7 5.5 -0.4
2004 7 -1.1 9.0 1.7
2003 8 3.6 17.0 7.3
2002 9 5.3 21.2 9.6
2001 10 12.0 32.7 17.5

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: The percent changes to November 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 0.9
April 0.0 1.4 0.2 -0.1
May 0.6 -1.7 0.6 1.2
June -0.9 0.5 0.8 -0.6
July -0.1 1.5 -0.2 (R) 0.1
August -1.3 -0.1 0.2 (P) 0.4
September -1.4 -0.6 1.0 (P) 0.9
October -0.8 0.1 0.9 (P) -0.3
November -1.7 -0.1 -0.3 (P) -0.5
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 November Passenger TSI
(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  November Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2002 95.3 9.5
2003 98.7 3.6
2004 106.0 7.4
2005 109.6 3.4
2006 113.0 3.2
2007 117.1 3.6
2008 110.6 -5.5
2009 109.8 -0.8
2010 114.4 4.2
2011P 115.6 1.1

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 1.7
April 0.4 -0.8 0.1 -0.8
May 0.1 -0.3 0.5 -1.2
June -0.6 0.9 0.1 1.6
July 0.1 1.6 0.1 (R) -0.1
August -1.6 1.1 -0.2 (P) 0.8
September -1.1 -0.5 1.0 (P) 0.9
October -1.0 -0.5 0.4 (P) -0.3
November -2.3 2.1 -0.6 (P) 0.0
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 November Combined TSI
(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

  November Combined TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2002 101.4 7.2
2003 103.6 2.2
2004 109.3 5.5
2005 111.6 2.1
2006 108.8 -2.6
2007 111.4 2.4
2008 105.1 -5.6
2009 102.6 -2.4
2010 107.0 4.3
2011P 111.1 3.8

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.