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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Transportation Services Index drops for second-straight month


After building momentum for nearly a year, an economic indicator now is in the midst of a two-month slump. Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) announced the June Transportation Services Index (TSI) of 123.9 fell 0.2 percent compared with May's 124.1 index, which declined 0.3 percent compared with April's all-time high 124.5 TSI. However, June's TSI increased 6.9 percent compared with June 2003's 115.9 index.

Last month, BTS reported that May's index of 124.3 rose 0.1 percent compared with April's TSI, but the agency recently revised the May figure. Between August 2003 and April 2004, the TSI had increased every month except January.

The June freight TSI of 125.7 decreased 0.4 percent compared with May’s 126.2 index — the second-straight monthly decline. BTS increased April's freight TSI from 125.8 to 126.6, and May's freight index from 126.1 to 126.2. However, June's freight TSI rose 6.2 percent compared with June 2003's 118.4 index.

June's passenger TSI of 120.0 increased 0.3 percent compared with May's index and equaled the highest TSI since August 2001. The passenger TSI also rose 8.9 percent compared with June 2003 data — the biggest June-to-June increase in the TSI's 14-year history. BTS revised May's passenger TSI from 120.6 to 119.7, and April's index from 120.8 to 120.0.

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.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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