The Freight Transportation Services Index fell 2.3 percent in January from its December level, falling for the third consecutive month to its lowest level in more than five years,
the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported.

The January decline was the fifth monthly decrease in six months. The index has fallen 7.7 percent in the last six months, the largest six-month decline since an 8.4 percent decline in 1995. The 5.9 percent decline in the three-month November through January period was the largest three-month decline since April 2000.

The 2.3 percent decline in January was the second January drop in five years and the largest January decline since 1996. The index dropped 0.3 percent in 2007.

At 102.7 in January, the freight TSI is at its lowest level since May 2003 when it was 102.5 and is down 9.2 percent from its historic peak of 113.1 reached in November 2005.

The freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in the output of services provided by the for-hire freight transportation industries. The index consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight.

The 7.8 percent decline from January to January left the freight index at its lowest January level since 2002.

The 2.3 percent decline in January resulted in a 3.5 percent drop in the freight index in the five years from January 2004, the second five-year decline in the 19-year history of TSI data. The first ever five-year decline was a 2.7 percent decrease from December 2003 to December 2008. The index is still up 2.9 percent in 10 years.

The TSI is a seasonally adjusted index that measures changes from the monthly average of the base year of 2000. It includes historic data from 1990 to the present.