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Freight index hits historic low

WASHINGTON — The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) fell 0.5 percent in September from its August level, declining after three consecutive monthly increases, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reports.

BTS said that the TSI has now declined in 10 of the past 14 months and in five of the nine months in 2009 despite the three consecutive monthly increases that began in June. It had increased 2.8 percent in between May and August.

The September TSI of 95.7 is a 2.3 percent increase from the recent low of 93.5 reached in May. In May, the index was at its lowest level since June 1997. The TSI is down 15.2 percent from its historic peak of 112.9 reached in May 2006.

The 4.6 percent decline in the first nine months of 2009 was the largest for the January-to-September period since a 5.9 percent decline for the first nine months of 2000.

The September TSI is the lowest for September since Sept. 1996 when it was 87.7. The 9.9 percent decline in the TSI from Sept. 2008 to Sept. 2009 was the largest September-to-September decline in the 20 years for which the TSI is calculated.

The index is also down 13 percent in the five years from Sept. 2004. It is down 8 percent compared to Sept. 1999.

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