Transportation index nears historic low

by Wally Northway

Published: December 10,2009

Tags: federal agency, recession, transportation

WASHINGTON — The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) fell 1.2 percent in October from its September level, declining for the second consecutive month, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reports.

The Freight TSI declined in 11 of the past 15 months and in six of 10 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 October Freight TSI of 94.5 is a 1 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 Freight TSI is down 16.3 percent from its historic peak of 112.9 reached in May 2006.

The 5.8 percent decline in the first 10 months of 2009 was the largest for the January-to-October period since a 6 percent decline for the first 10 months of 2000.

The October Freight TSI of 94.5 is the lowest for October since Oct. 1996 when it was 88.8. The 10.5 percent decline in the Freight TSI from Oct. 2008 to Oct. 2009 was the largest October-to-October decline in the 20-year history of the index.

The freight index is also down 14.2 percent in the five years from Oct. 2004. The index is down 9.3 percent from Oct. 1999.

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