Freight index down 0.4% in October

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The Freight Transportation Services Index fell 0.4 percent in October to 109.1 from the September level of 109.5, turning down after a one-month rise and continuing a pattern that began in October 2005 of alternating monthly increases and decreases, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported today, Dec. 6.

The October 2006 level fell 0.7 percent from the October 2005 level of 109.9, the second consecutive decline from October of the previous year and the largest October-to-October decline since 2000. During the first 10 months of 2006, the Freight TSI fell 1.6 percent, the second consecutive decline in the December-to-October period and the biggest decline in the period since 2000.

The combined index, which also includes passenger data, was unchanged from its September level, following a one-month rise. The lack of change in October continued a two-year period in which the combined index has not shown a persistent direction: The index has risen less than 1 percent from October 2004 to October 2006.

For the first 10 months of 2006, the overall index fell 0.2 percent, the second consecutive small December-to-October decline but the largest decline since 2001. The October level of 110.3 for the combined index was 0.5 percent higher than the October 2005 level of 109.8, the fifth consecutive increase from October of the previous year — but the second consecutive year with an October-to-October change of less than 1 percent. The October 2006 level was 10.8 percent higher than the October level of the base year of 2000.

TSI is a single seasonally adjusted index of the month-to-month changes in the output of services provided by the for-hire transportation industries, including railroad, air, truck, inland waterways, pipeline and local transit. The baseline year for the index is 2000.