Freight index down 0.5% in Sept.

The Freight Transportation Services Index fell 0.5 percent in September from August, declining after three consecutive monthly increases, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported today, Nov. 12.

BTS reported the Freight TSI now has declined in 10 of the past 14 months and in five of the nine months in 2009, despite the three consecutive monthly increases that began in June. It had increased 2.8 percent between May and August.

The September Freight TSI of 95.7 is a 2.3 percent increase from the recent low of 93.5 reached in May, when the index was at its lowest level in more than a decade, since June 1997. The Freight TSI is down 15.2 percent from its historic peak of 112.9 reached in May 2006.

The September Freight TSI of 95.7 is the lowest for September since September 1996 when it was 87.7. The 9.9 percent decline in the Freight TSI from September 2008 to September 2009 was the largest September-to-September decline in the 20 years for which the TSI is calculated.

The 4.6 percent decline in the first nine months of 2009 was the largest for the January-to-September period since a 5.9 percent decline for the first nine months of 2000. The freight index is also down 13.0 percent in the five years from September 2004. The index is down 8.0 percent in the 10 years from September 1999.

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in the output of services provided by the for-hire freight transportation industries, including trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight. It includes historic data from 1990 to the present. The baseline year is 2000.

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