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February 11, 2009 4:00 PM, EST
DOT Freight Transportation Index Falls 3%
Level Is Lowest in More Than Five Years
Tom Biery/Trans Pixs

The Department of Transportation’s freight transportation services index declined 3% in December from a year earlier, DOT said Wednesday.

The 3% decline last year was the third consecutive annual downturn and the largest since 2000, DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics said in its monthly report.

The 105.1 reading left the freight index at its lowest level in more than five years, going back to September 2003 when it was 104.4. It is down 7.1% from its historic peak of 113.1, set in November 2005.

The index rose 2.7% in the first seven months of 2008 but fell 5.5% in the final five months, the largest such decline since the five months ended April 2000.

The TSI is a seasonally adjusted monthly index measuring the output of services provided by the for-hire transportation industries, including railroad, air, truck, inland waterways, pipeline and local transit.