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5/7/2004



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Transportation industry's February index indicates economic resurgence is for real



Is the U.S. economy really rebounding? It is according to one economic indicator. In February, the Transportation Services Index (TSI) rose 1.4 percent compared with January's index to 120.4 — the second highest level in 14 years, said officials from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics in a report released earlier this week.

February's TSI was only 0.1 percent off December 2003's record 120.5 index and 5.1 percent higher compared with February 2003's TSI.

The freight TSI of 120.6 increased 1.3 percent and 3.7 percent compared with January 2004's and February 2003's indexes, respectively. The freight TSI had dropped in January following four-straight monthly gains.

February's passenger TSI of 119.7 rose 1.6 percent compared with January's index — the first gain after two-straight monthly declines — and increased 8.5 percent compared with February 2003.

During a six-month period ending in February, the TSI rose 4.7 percent compared with a similar timeframe ending in February 2003. During that span, the freight and passenger TSIs increased 4.4 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively.

The TSI is a measure of month-to-month changes in the output of services provided by for-hire transportation industries, including railroad, air, truck, inland waterways, pipelines and local transit. The index includes historic data from 1990 to the present; changes are measured against a base year of 1996.


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