Freight index collapses to lowest level in three years

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The Freight Transportation Services Index fell 1.4 percent in November from the October level, declining for the fifth time in six months to drop to its lowest level since January 2004, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported today, Jan. 10. The November freight index of 107.6 was down 4.7 percent from its peak of 112.8 in January 2005.

The Freight TSI for November was the lowest level for that month since 2003. The November 2006 level fell 4.1 percent from the November 2005 level, the first decline from November of the previous year since 2001, the largest decline since 2000 and the second-largest decline in the last 10 years. During the first 11 months of 2006, the Freight TSI fell 3.0 percent, the first decline in the December-to-November period since 2001, the largest decline since 2000 and the second-largest decline in the last 10 years.

The overall TSI, which also includes passenger data, fell 1.0 percent in November to 109.1 from its October level, declining for the first time since August. The overall index, which has declined 2.7 percent since reaching its peak of 112.1 in May, is at its second-lowest point since August 2004, being exceeded only by August 2006. For the first 11 months of 2006, the overall TSI fell 1.2 percent, the first decline in the period since December-to-November 2001.

The November level for the overall TSI was the lowest November level since 2003, and it was 2.1 percent lower than the November 2005 level, the first decline from November of the previous year since 2001. However, the November 2006 level was 9.2 percent higher than the November 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.