Freight index climbed 0.8% in December

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The Freight Transportation Services Index rose 0.8 percent in December to 108.4 from the November level of 107.6, following two monthly declines, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported today, Feb. 14. Still, the annual Freight TSI declined for the second consecutive year.

The Freight TSI December 2006 level was down 3.9 percent from its peak of 112.8 in January 2005. The December 2006 level, which was the lowest December level since 2003, fell 2.3 percent from the December 2005 level, the largest decline since 2000 and the second-largest decline in the last 10 years.

The overall index, which also includes passenger transportation data, fell 0.4 percent in 2006 for the first annual decline since 2001. The overall December TSI rose 0.9 percent to 110.1 from its November level of 109.1, rising after a one-month decline. The index has not increased in consecutive months since November 2004. Even with December’s increase, the index was lower at the end of 2006 than it was in November 2004.

The December level for the combined index was 0.4 percent lower than the December 2005 level, the first decline from December of the previous year since 2001. The December 2006 level was 11.7 percent higher than the December level of the base year of 2000, but only 0.2 percent higher than the December 2004 level.

On a quarterly basis, the overall TSI fell 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2006, falling for the second consecutive quarter. The Freight TSI decreased 1.0 percent in the fourth quarter of 2006, also falling for the second consecutive quarter. The freight index has declined in six of the last 10 quarters.

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.