Business sales and inventories are both up 0.3%, according to an August Commerce Department report (link opens as PDF) released today.
Seasonally adjusted sales increased 0.3% to $1,298 billion, due primarily to a 0.6% increase in merchant wholesaler sales. Manufacturers and retailers both registered 0.2% gains. Last year, merchant wholesalers also made the biggest gains, up 5.6% compared to total business sales growth of 4.2%.
Inventories mirrored the sales increase in August, bumping up a seasonally adjusted 0.3% to $1,668 billion and matching analyst expectations. Merchant wholesaler supplies expanded the most, up 0.5%. In the last year, overall inventories were up 3.1%, as retailers roar ahead with a 5% inventories increase.
To understand the rate at which goods are being made and sold, economists compute an inventories/sales ratio. Since sales and inventories both increased at a fairly similar rate, the inventories/sales ratio remained at July's 1.29 value. The August 2012 ratio was 1.30.
The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.