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Economy in Brief

U.S. Business Inventory Growth Is Stable In July
by Tom Moeller  September 14, 2011

The U.S. Commerce Department reported that business inventory growth held steady in July at 0.4%. Business sales increased 0.7% and were slightly stronger than June. With the moderate inventory growth, the inventory/sales ratio slipped to 1.27. By July inventories were 10.6% higher than July 2010, and sales were up 12.0%.

In the retail sector, the gain in sales contributed to lower inventories. Sales in July rose 0.3% after a 0.2% June increase. Retailers' inventories declined slightly with a y/y gain a low 4.0%. General merchandise and building material stocks fell for the second month, while furniture was down for the fifth month this year. Clothing inventories were up a strengthened 6.8% from last year. Motor vehicle dealers saw a lessened 3.9% y/y increase. Inventory/sales ratios held low.

The manufacturing and trade data are in Haver's USECON database. Note that in a value-added feature, the database includes series calculated by Haver database managers showing sales, inventories and I/S ratios for total business less motor vehicle dealers and related wholesale operations.

Business Inventories (%)

Jul Jun May Jul Y/Y 2010 2009 2008
Total 0.4 0.4 0.9 10.6 8.6 -9.3 -1.2
 Retail -0.0 0.2 0.4 4.0 6.1 -10.0 -4.4
   Retail excl. Motor Vehicles -0.2 0.2 0.4 4.1 3.7 -4.7 -3.0
 Merchant Wholesalers 0.8 0.6 1.7 15.1 11.0 -11.8 3.7
 Manufacturing 0.5 0.4 0.8 12.8 8.7 -6.8 -4.1
Business Sales (%)
Total 0.7 0.5 -0.1 12.0 9.3 -14.6 2.3
 Retail 0.3 0.2 -0.2 8.7 6.8 -7.8 -1.6
    Retail excl. Motor Vehicles 0.3 0.1 0.3 8.4 6.1 -6.3 2.1
 Merchant Wholesalers -0.0 0.6 -0.3 14.4 12.6 -16.1 5.9
 Manufacturing 1.6 0.6 -0.0 12.6 8.6 -18.5 2.3
I/S Ratio
Total 1.27 1.28 1.28 1.29 1.28 1.39 1.32
 Retail 1.34 1.34 1.34 1.40 1.37 1.46 1.51
    Retail Excl. Motor Vehicles 1.19 1.19 1.19 1.24 1.23 1.30 1.29
 Merchant Wholesalers 1.17 1.16 1.16 1.16 1.16 1.30 1.21
 Manufacturing 1.34 1.32 1.34 1.33 1.41 1.27
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