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Transportation Services Index inched up in December

The Transportation Services Index (TSI) capped off 2012 on a good note, increasing 0.9 percent from November's level to 112.2, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). The index also rose 2.1 percent on a year-over-year basis.

The Freight TSI registered a gain for the second-straight month, ratcheting up 1 percent to 109.9 versus November's level. But compared with December 2011's index, the Freight TSI fell 3.5 percent.

A measure of month-to-month changes in output from for-hire rail, trucking, inland waterway, pipeline and air freight service providers, the index inched up 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter after dipping 0.6 percent in the third quarter and rising 0.3 percent in the second quarter.

Since peaking in December 2011 at 114 — the highest level in the TSI series' 22-year history — the Freight TSI "remained in a narrow band" through 2012, except for a drop in October to 107.1, the lowest level since May 2011's 105.2, BTS officials said in a press release. The index ended 2012 at the same level it started in January, they said.

Meanwhile, the Passenger TSI in December increased 0.7 percent from November's level to 118.4. On a year-over-year basis, the index rose 1.7 percent. The Passenger TSI measures month-to-month changes in travel involving for-hire intercity rail, air and local transit service providers.

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