Monthly indicator will measure importance
of transportation to the economy
U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta announced
Thursday creation of the Transportation Services Index (TSI),
a new economic indicator intended to measure the performance
of the economy as reflected in the movement of freight and
Mineta announced the Department of Transportations
(DOT) index after ringing the opening bell of the New York
Stock Exchange. The new index will focus on the movement of
freight and passenger traffic by land, water and air.
It is expected that the TSI will join the ranks of other
monthly indicators in providing a reliable benchmark on the
overall strength of the American economy.
Wall Street understands how important numbers are for
gauging financial health, said Mineta. The new
Transportation Services Index will fill a crucial void by
finally giving us a single number to measure how much transportation
means to the American economy.
The TSI will use monthly data on freight movement and passenger
travel in the for-hire transportation sector. Analysts from
the Departments Bureau of Transportation Statistics
(BTS) will weight and seasonally adjust the data to allow
monthly and year-to-year comparisons.
The freight measures in the TSI will include for-hire trucking
& parcel services, freight railroad services, inland waterway
traffic, pipeline movements and air freight. The passenger
transportation measures will be local transit, intercity passenger
rail and air passenger transportation.
The first TSI numbers will be released in March.
The transportation sector accounts for 11 percent of the
U.S. Gross Domestic Product and employs more than 11 million
Americans. At the New York Stock Exchange alone, there are
39 transportation companies listed that together represent
a current market value of over $181 billion.
Mineta said the TSI will provide the first-ever single measure
of the transportation sectors impact on the economy.
The TSI will show just how much keeping the economy
moving is about keeping America moving, said Mineta.
More detailed information on the new index is available on
the BTS website, www.bts.gov.