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January 2015 Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI)

Press Release Number: 
BTS 11_15
Date: 
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Media Contact: 
Dave Smallen, 202-366-5568

PDF | Excel

Freight Transportation Services Index, January 2010 - January 2015

Table Version | Excel

Freight Transportation Services Index, January 2010 - January 2015

Source for Recession Dates: National Bureau of Economic Research, US Business Cycle Expansions and Contractions

The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry, fell 0.2 percent in January from December, declining for the second consecutive month, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS). The January 2015 index level (122.9) was 29.9 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession (Tables 1, 2, and 2A).

The level of freight shipments in January measured by the Freight TSI (122.9) was 0.6 percent below the all-time high level of 123.6 in November 2014 (Table 2A). BTS’ TSI records begin in 2000. See historical TSI data.

The November and December indexes were revised down from last month’s release. November was revised from 123.9 to 123.6 while December was revised from 123.8 to 123.1. There were smaller downward revisions for August through October.

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles, which are 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.

Analysis: Rail carloads, rail intermodal, and pipeline grew in January but air freight, trucking and waterborne decreased, resulting in the continuing decline in the overall freight index. Institute for Supply Management data indicated that growth in production, orders, and inventory slowed in January.

Trend: The Freight TSI declined in January for the second consecutive month. It was down 0.6 percent from its all-time high in November after increases for five consecutive months. Even after two months of declines, the index remained higher than it had been at any point prior to the November high. After dipping to 94.6 in April 2009, the index rose 29.9 percent in the succeeding 69 months. For additional historical data, go to TSI data.

Index highs and lows: Freight shipments in January 2015 (122.9) were 29.9 percent higher than the recent low in April 2009 during the recession (94.6). The January 2015 level  was 0.6 percent below the historic peak reached in November 2014 (123.6).

Year to date: Freight shipments measured by the index were down 0.2 percent in January compared to the end of 2014 (Table 3)

Long-term trend: Freight shipments are up 19.0 percent in the five years from the post-recession level of January 2010 and are up 7.6 percent in the 10 years from January 2005 (Table 5). 

Same month of previous year: January 2015 freight shipments were up 5.6 percent from January 2014 (Tables 4, 5).

The TSI has three seasonally adjusted indexes that measure changes from the monthly average of the base year of 2000. The three indexes are freight shipments, passenger travel and a combined measure that merges the freight and passenger indexes. TSI includes data from 2000 to the present. Release of the February index is scheduled for April 8.

Passenger Index: The TSI for passengers fell 0.1 percent in January from its December level (Table 6).  The Passenger TSI January 2015 level of 120.8 was 3.3 percent above the January 2014 level (Table 7). The index is up 9.4 percent in five years and up 12.2 percent in 10 years (Table 5).  The passenger TSI measures the month-to-month changes in travel that involves the services of 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 0.1 percent in January from its December level (Table 8). The combined TSI January 2015 level of 122.3 was 4.9 percent above the January 2014 level (Table 9). The combined index is up 16.0 percent in five years and up 8.7 percent in 10 years (Table 5). The combined TSI merges the freight and passenger indexes into a single index.

Revisions: Monthly data has changed from previous releases due to the use of concurrent seasonal analysis, which results in seasonal analysis factors changing as each months data are added.

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.

 

Table 1: Freight, Passenger and Combined Transportation Services Indexes Since July 2014

Percent Change from Previous Month

(Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly Average of 2000 = 100)

  Freight Passenger Combined
Index Pct. Change Index Pct. Change Index Pct. Change
July 120.9 1.7 120.0 0.4 120.7 1.3
August 121.1 0.2 120.3 0.2 121.0 0.2
September 121.7 0.4 120.0 -0.2 121.2 0.2
October 122.4 0.6 120.5 0.5 122.0 0.6
November 123.6 0.9 119.1 -1.2 122.3 0.3
December 123.1 -0.4 120.9 1.6 122.5 0.1
January 122.9 -0.2 120.8 -0.1 122.3 -0.1

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 2: Freight Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2012-2015

Percent change from previous month

  2012 % Change 2013 % Change 2014 % Change 2015 % Change
January -3.2 1.1 -2.1 -0.2
February 0.1 0.7 0.7  
March -0.9 0.3 1.7  
April 0.7 -0.7 0.4  
May 0.9 1.0 0.7  
June 0.7 0.4 -1.3  
July -0.3 0.0 1.7  
August -0.6 0.5 0.2  
September -0.1 0.1 0.4  
October -1.9 -0.2 0.6  
November 1.4 2.2 0.9  
December 1.1 -0.2 -0.4  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

 

Table 2A: Freight Transportation Services Index by Month, 2012-2015

  2012 2013 2014 2015
January 111.8 114.2 116.3 122.9
February 111.9 114.9 117.1  
March 110.9 115.2 119.1  
April 111.6 114.4 119.6  
May 112.6 115.6 120.5  
June 113.4 116.1 118.9  
July 113.1 116.1 120.9  
August 112.4 116.6 121.1  
September 112.3 116.8 121.7  
October 110.2 116.5 122.4  
November 111.7 119.1 123.6  
December 112.9 118.9 123.1  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

 

Table 3: Freight, Passenger and Combined Transportation Services Indexes Year-to-Date Change, 2006-2015

Percent change to January from December of the previous year

Year Freight Passenger Combined
2006 0.3 1.3 0.6
2007 -0.9 0.2 -0.6
2008 2.1 0.3 1.6
2009 -1.6 -0.6 -1.3
2010 1.6 -0.1 1.1
2011 1.3 -0.2 0.8
2012 -3.2 -0.8 -2.5
2013 1.1 0.3 0.9
2014 -2.1 -0.9 -1.8
2015 -0.2 -0.1 -0.1

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

 

Table 4: Freight Transportation Services Index from Year-to-Year

Percent change in the January Freight TSI

(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

  January Freight TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2006 112.5 -1.5
2007 109.7 -2.5
2008 113.2 3.2
2009 98.7 -12.8
2010 103.2 4.7
2011 110.4 7.0
2012 111.8 1.3
2013 114.2 2.1
2014 116.3 1.9
2015 122.9 5.6

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 5: Transportation Services Indexes from Previous Years

Percent Change to 2015 (January to January)

Since January . . . Duration in years Freight TSI Percent change to January 2015 Passenger TSI Percent change to January 2015 Combined TSI Percent change to January 2015
2014 1 5.6 3.3 4.9
2013 2 7.6 3.6 6.4
2012 3 9.9 5.1 8.4
2011 4 11.3 6.8 9.9
2010 5 19.0 9.4 16.0
2009 6 24.5 10.1 20.0
2008 7 8.6 3.5 6.9
2007 8 12.0 6.0 10.1
2006 9 9.2 9.6 9.2
2005 10 7.6 12.2 8.7

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

 

Table 6: Passenger Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2012-2015

Percent change from previous month

  2012 % Change 2013 % Change 2014 % Change 2015 % Change
January -0.8 0.3 -0.9 -0.1
February 1.7 0.0 0.0  
March -0.9 -0.7 2.0  
April -0.2 1.1 0.1  
May -0.6 -0.1 0.6  
June 0.2 0.7 -0.5  
July -0.3 -0.8 0.4  
August 0.8 0.7 0.2  
September 0.0 -0.1 -0.2  
October -1.8 0.5 0.5  
November 1.6 0.4 -1.2  
December 0.5 -0.5 1.6  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

 

Table 7: Passenger Transportation Services Index from Year-to-Year

Percent change in the January Passenger TSI

(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

  January Passenger TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2006 110.2 2.4
2007 113.9 3.4
2008 116.7 2.4
2009 109.7 -6.0
2010 110.4 0.7
2011 113.1 2.4
2012 114.9 1.6
2013 116.6 1.5
2014 116.9 0.3
2015 120.8 3.3

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

 

Table 8: Combined Transportation Services Index Monthly Changes, 2012-2015

Percent change from previous month

  2012 % Change 2013 % Change 2014 % Change 2015 % Change
January -2.5 0.9 -1.8 -0.1
February 0.6 0.5 0.5  
March -0.9 0.0 1.8  
April 0.4 -0.2 0.3  
May 0.4 0.7 0.7  
June 0.6 0.5 -1.1  
July -0.3 -0.2 1.3  
August -0.2 0.5 0.2  
September -0.1 0.1 0.2  
October -1.9 0.0 0.6  
November 1.5 1.6 0.3  
December 0.9 -0.3 0.1  

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

 

Table 9: Combined Transportation Services Index from Year-to-Year

Percent change in the January Combined TSI

(Monthly average of 2000 = 100)

  January Combined TSI Percent change from same month previous year
2006 112.1 -0.4
2007 111.1 -0.8
2008 114.5 3.0
2009 102.0 -10.9
2010 105.4 3.4
2011 111.3 5.5
2012 112.8 1.4
2013 115.0 1.9
2014 116.6 1.4
2015 122.3 4.9

SOURCE: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

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, sightseeing services, ferry services, taxi service, private automobile usage, or bicycling and other non-motorized transportation.