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Freight Shipments Fell 0.1% in June from May

Release Number: 
BTS 38-12

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Table Version | Excel | CSVFive Years: Freight Transportation Services Index, July 2007-June 2012

Five Years: Freight Transportation Services Index, July 2007-June 2012

Source for Recession Dates: National Bureau of Economic Research, 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012 - The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry fell 0.1 percent in June from May, following no change in the index from April to May, according to the U.S. Department of Transportations EmEdjimurjE (BTS) Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) released today. The June 2012 index level (109.5) was 16.1 percent above the April 2009 low during the recession (Tables 12A).

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the level of freight shipments in June measured by the Freight TSI, 109.5, was 3.9 percent below the all-time high level of 114.0 in December 2011 (Table 2A). BTS TSI records began in 1990. See historical .

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.

Analysis: The Freight TSI remained stable in the second quarter of 2012, continuing a pattern of little change since January. This appears to reflect the rate of growth in the general economy.  (GDP) growth slowed to 1.5 percent in the second quarter and a revised 2.0 percent in first quarter of 2012, from 3.0 percent in fourth quarter of 2011, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Rail and truck freight grew in June, but were offset by decline in shipments using other modes, notably waterborne freight, which may be due to the impact of low water conditions on the Mississippi River system.

Trend: Freight shipments in June 2012 (109.5) were at the seventh highest monthly level since the early recession month of July 2008 despite the 3.9 percent decline from its peak in December 2011 (114.0), which was the highest level in the 22-year history of the Freight TSI series. After dipping to a recent low in April 2009 (94.3) during the recession, freight shipments increased in 24 of the last 38 months, rising 16.1 percent during that period (Tables 2, 2A). For additional historical data, go to .

Index highs and lows: Freight shipments in June 2012 (109.5) were 16.1 percent higher than the recent low in April 2009 during the recession (94.3). In April 2009, freight shipments were at their lowest level since June 1997 (92.3). The June 2012 level is down 3.9 percent from the historic freight shipment peak reached in December 2011 (114.0).

Long-term trend: Freight shipments are up 1.1 percent in the five years from the pre-recession level of June 2007 and up 7.8 percent in the 10 years from June 2002 despite declines in recent years (Table 5).

Same month of previous year: June 2012 freight shipments rose 1.6 percent from June 2011 and 14.6 percent from June 2009, during the recession, but remain below the level in June 2006 (111.9) prior to the recession (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 historical data from 1990 to the present. Release of the July index is scheduled for Sept. 12.

2nd Quarter Changes: The Freight TSI fell 0.2 percent in the second quarter for the second consecutive quarterly decline. The index rose in nine of the last 12 quarters (Table 10).

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

Passenger Index: The TSI for passengers rose 0.5 percent in June from its May level (Table 6). The Passenger TSI June 2012 level of 117.6 was 2.3 percent above the June 2011 level and was the all-time high for June indexes since 1990 when BTS TSI records began (Table 7). The index is up 0.5 percent in five years and is up 24.1 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 Index: The combined freight and passenger TSI rose 0.1 percent in June from its May level (Table 8). The combined TSI May 2012 level of 111.7 was 1.8 percent above the June 2011 level (Table 9). The combined index is up 0.9 percent in five years and up 12.2 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 February (Freight, Passenger and Combined) were revised because of revisions in the output data of the component transportation services. The February Freight TSI is 110.6, revised from 110.3 reported in last months release. The February Passenger TSI is 116.8 revised from 116.1. The February Combined TSI is 112.2, revised from 111.8. 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 BTS revision policies is available at  and .

TABLE 1: FREIGHT, PASSENGER AND COMBINED TRANSPORTATION SERVICES INDEXES SINCE DECEMBER 2011 
PERCENT CHANGE FROM PREVIOUS MONTH
(SEASONALLY ADJUSTED, MONTHLY AVERAGE OF 2000 = 100)

Excel | CSV

 FreightPassengerCombined
IndexPct. ChangeIndexPct. ChangeIndexPct. Change
December114.04.7116.40.9114.63.6
January109.9-3.6115.2-1.0111.3-2.9
FebruaryR110.60.7116.81.4112.20.9
MarchP109.4-1.1116.7-0.1111.3-0.8
AprilP109.60.2117.60.8111.70.4
MayP109.60.0117.0-0.5111.6-0.1
JuneP109.5-0.1117.60.5111.70.1

Source: EmEdjimurjE

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

TABLE 2: FREIGHT TRANSPORTATION SERVICES INDEX MONTHLY CHANGES, 2009-2012
PERCENT CHANGE FROM PREVIOUS MONTH

Excel | CSV

 2009 % Change2010 % Change2011 % Change2012 % Change
January-2.40.51.0-3.6
February2.81.1-1.4(R) 0.7
March-4.01.22.0(P) -1.1
April-1.60.1-1.0(P) 0.2
May0.30.5-2.1(P) 0.0
June1.0-0.12.5(P) -0.1
July1.60.3-0.2 
August1.5-0.40.4 
September-0.51.11.1 
October-0.70.2-0.3 
November2.9-0.70.1 
December0.62.44.7 

Source: EmEdjimurjE

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

TABLE 2A: FREIGHT TRANSPORTATION SERVICES INDEX BY MONTH, 2009-2012

Excel | CSV

 2009201020112012
January97.1101.1107.9109.9
February99.8102.3106.4(R) 110.6
March95.9103.6108.6(P) 109.4
April94.3103.7107.4(P) 109.6
May94.6104.2105.2(P) 109.6
June95.5104.0107.8(P) 109.5
July97.1104.3107.6 
August98.5103.9108.0 
September98.0105.0109.1 
October97.3105.2108.8 
November100.1104.4108.9 
December100.7106.9114.0 

Source: EmEdjimurjE

NOTE: P = preliminary; R = revised

TABLE 3: FREIGHT, PASSENGER AND COMBINED TRANSPORTATION SERVICES INDEXES YEAR-TO-DATE CHANGE, 2003-2012
PERCENT CHANGE TO JUNE FROM DECEMBER OF THE PREVIOUS YEAR

Excel | CSV

YearFreightPassengerCombined
2003-1.9-3.9-2.4
20042.43.92.8
20050.82.41.3
20060.42.10.9
2007-1.32.5-0.2
2008-0.2-0.4-0.3
2009-3.9-1.8-3.3
20103.32.33.1
20110.81.51.0
2012P-3.91.0-2.5

Source: EmEdjimurjE

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 TSIPercent change from same month previous year
2003102.40.8
2004110.07.4
2005111.10.9
2006111.90.8
2007108.4-3.2
2008109.71.2
200995.5-12.9
2010104.08.9
2011107.83.6
2012P109.51.6

Source: EmEdjimurjE

NOTE: P = preliminary

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

TABLE 5: TRANSPORTATION SERVICES INDEXES FROM PREVIOUS YEARS 
PERCENT CHANGE TO 2012 (JUNE TO JUNE)

Excel | CSV

Since June...Duration in yearsFreight TSI Percent change to June 2012Passenger TSI Percent change to June 2012Combined TSI Percent change to June 2012
201111.62.31.8
201025.34.55.1
2009314.68.112.8
20084-0.20.90.1
200751.10.50.9
20066-2.15.60.0
20057-1.47.91.2
20048-0.512.73.1
200396.925.511.9
2002107.824.112.2

Source: EmEdjimurjE

NOTE: The percent changes to June 2012 are all preliminary.

TABLE 6: PASSENGER TRANSPORTATION SERVICES INDEX MONTHLY CHANGES, 2009-2012
PERCENT CHANGE FROM PREVIOUS MONTH

Excel | CSV

 2009 % Change2010 % Change2011 % Change2012 % Change
January-1.00.60.2-1.0
February0.5-2.1-0.2(R) 1.4
March-1.42.30.9(P) -0.1
April1.40.2-0.1(P) 0.8
May-1.70.61.2(P) -0.5
June0.50.8-0.6(P) 0.5
July1.5-0.20.1 
August-0.10.2-1.2 
September-0.61.01.4 
October0.10.9-0.4 
November-0.1-0.30.5 
December0.2-1.00.9 

Source: EmEdjimurjE

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 TSIPercent change from same month previous year
200393.7-1.1
2004104.411.4
2005109.04.5
2006111.42.1
2007117.15.1
2008116.6-0.4
2009108.8-6.7
2010112.63.5
2011114.92.1
2012P117.62.3

Source: EmEdjimurjE

NOTE: P = preliminary

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

TABLE 8: COMBINED TRANSPORTATION SERVICES INDEX MONTHLY CHANGES, 2009-2012
PERCENT CHANGE FROM PREVIOUS MONTH

Excel | CSV

 2009 % Change2010 % Change2011 % Change2012 % Change
January-2.00.50.7-2.9
February2.20.2-1.1(R) 0.9
March-3.31.51.7(P) -0.8
April-0.80.1-0.8(P) 0.4
May-0.30.5-1.2(P) -0.1
June0.90.11.6(P) 0.1
July1.60.1-0.1 
August1.1-0.2-0.1 
September-0.51.01.2 
October-0.50.4-0.3 
November2.1-0.60.2 
December0.51.53.6 

Source: EmEdjimurjE

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 TSIPercent change from same month previous year
200399.80.3
2004108.38.5
2005110.42.0
2006111.71.2
2007110.7-0.9
2008111.50.8
200999.0-11.2
2010106.37.4
2011109.73.2
2012P111.71.8

Source: EmEdjimurjE

NOTE: P = preliminary

NOTE: Percent changes based on numbers prior to rounding.

TABLE 10: FREIGHT TRANSPORTATION SERVICES INDEX CHANGE BY QUARTER, 2003-2012
PERCENT CHANGE FROM THE LAST MONTH OF THE PREVIOUS QUARTER

Excel | CSV

Year1st Quarter (Jan-Mar) % Growth2nd Quarter (Apr-Jun) % Growth3rd Quarter (Jul-Sep) % Growth4th Quarter (Oct-Dec) % Growth
2003-0.9-1.01.83.0
20041.90.5-0.40.6
20051.4-0.6-0.30.7
2006-0.50.9-0.6-1.3
20070.9-2.2-0.21.6
2008-0.20.1-2.5-7.0
2009-3.6-0.42.62.8
20102.90.50.91.9
20111.5-0.71.34.4
2012(P) -4.0(P) -0.2  

Source: EmEdjimurjE

NOTE: P = preliminary

TABLE 11: PASSENGER TRANSPORTATION SERVICES INDEX CHANGE BY QUARTER, 2003-2012
PERCENT CHANGE FROM THE LAST MONTH OF THE PREVIOUS QUARTER

Excel | CSV

Year1st Quarter (Jan-Mar) % Growth2nd Quarter (Apr-Jun) % Growth3rd Quarter (Jul-Sep) % Growth4th Quarter (Oct-Dec) % Growth
2003-4.00.14.52.5
20041.82.1-0.92.9
20051.90.50.9-0.9
20062.00.1-0.83.3
20072.10.40.7-0.6
2008-0.1-0.3-2.7-2.3
2009-1.90.10.80.3
20100.71.61.0-0.4
20111.00.50.31.0
2012(P) 0.2(P) 2.0  

Source: EmEdjimurjE

NOTE: P = preliminary

TABLE 12: COMBINED TRANSPORTATION SERVICES INDEX CHANGE BY QUARTER, 2003-2012
PERCENT CHANGE FROM THE LAST MONTH OF THE PREVIOUS QUARTER

Excel | CSV

Year1st Quarter (Jan-Mar) % Growth2nd Quarter (Apr-Jun) % Growth3rd Quarter (Jul-Sep) % Growth4th Quarter (Oct-Dec) % Growth
2003-1.7-0.72.62.9
20041.81.0-0.51.2
20051.5-0.20.00.2
20060.20.7-0.70.0
20071.3-1.50.01.0
2008-0.20.0-2.6-5.8
2009-3.1-0.22.12.1
20102.30.80.91.2
20111.4-0.41.03.5
2012(P) -2.8(P) 0.4  

Source: EmEdjimurjE

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.

Updated: Monday, November 27, 2017
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