October freight index rose 1.0% from September; down 0.6% from ’07

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The Freight Transportation Services Index rose 1.0 percent in October from its September level, rising after two consecutive monthly declines, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported today, Dec. 10.

The October freight index increased followed a two-month decline of 4.3 percent in August and September that was the freight index’s largest two-month drop in more than eight years. The index declined 5.9 percent in March and April 2000.

The September decline of 2.5 percent was the fifth-largest monthly decline in the last 10 years, and the August decline of 1.9 percent ranked as the eighth-largest. They both were exceeded by the March decline of 2.9 percent, the second-largest in 10 years and the largest since a 4.1 percent decline in March 2000.

At 109.1 in October, the Freight TSI is up 1.1 percent from its recent low of 108.0 in September 2007 and down 3.5 percent from its historic peak of 113.1 reached in November 2005.

For the first 10 months of 2008, the index rose 0.7 percent. The index rose 0.9 percent in the first 10 months of 2007 before dropping in the last two months to finish the year down 0.5 percent.

The October 2008 Freight TSI level was 0.6 percent lower than the October 2007 level of 109.8. The freight index is at its lowest October level since 2003. Despite the losses since 2004, the freight index has increased 2.8 percent in five years and 8.4 percent in 10 years.

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.