The US Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which measures changes in the output of services provided by that country's for-hire freight transportation industries, fell 2.5% in September from its August level, the US Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported at the end of last week.
The BTS said that fall marked a second consecutive month of decline in that index. Specifically, it had dropped 4.3% in the past two months, declining to a level equal to the four-year low set in September 2007.
"The big declines of the past two months dropped the freight index into negative territory for the year," continued the BTS. "For the first nine months of 2008, the index declined 0.3%, the fourth consecutive December-to-September decline. The index declined 0.8% in the first nine months of 2007 before rebounding in the last quarter to finish the year down 0.1%."
The BTS said the September drop had been the fifth largest monthly decline in the last 10 years while the August decline of 1.9% ranked as the eighth largest. They were both exceeded by the March decline of 2.9%, the second largest in 10 years and the largest since a 4.1% decline in March 2000. "At 108.0 in September, the freight TSI has returned to its recent low of 108.0 in September 2007 and is down 4.5% from its historic peak of 113.1 reached in November 2005."
The BTS explained that the TSI measured the month-to-month changes in the output of services provided by the for-hire freight transportation industries. That index consisted of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight.
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