Freight index falls to lowest level in more than 6 years

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The Freight Transportation Services Index fell 3.3 percent in March from its February level, falling to its lowest level in more than six years, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported today, May 13. The March decrease was the largest monthly drop for any month since March 2000.

The 3.6 percent decline in the first three months of 2009 is the second-largest in the last decade, exceeded only by a 4.8 percent decline for the first three months of 2000. The March level of the Freight TSI of 101.4 is the lowest since May 2002 when it was 101.1. The Freight TSI is down 10.4 percent from its historic peak of 113.1 reached in November 2005.

The 6.4 percent decline from March 2008 to March 2009 was the largest March-to-March decline in the 20 years for which the TSI is calculated.

With the March decrease, the index is down 7.7 percent in the five years from March 2004, the fourth consecutive month in which the index declined for a five-year period. The index is down 1.3 percent in 10 years for the first-ever 10-year decline in the 20-year history of TSI data.

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.