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Thursday, November 15, 2018
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Wholesale Trade: Business Inventories Build in May Under Sales Pressure

Employees have short meeting in the warehouse to check business inventory levels of goods. First in first out. (Photo: AdobeStock)
Employees have short meeting in the warehouse to check business inventory levels of goods. First in first out. (Photo: AdobeStock)

Employees have short meeting in the warehouse to check business inventory levels of goods. First in first out. (Photo: AdobeStock)

The U.S. Census Bureau report on wholesale trade statistics shows business inventories building in May under the pressure of solid sales.

Sales

Sales of merchant wholesalers in May — except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, after adjustment for seasonal variations and trading-day differences but not for price changes — came in at $509.0 billion. That’s up 2.5% (±0.4) from the revised April level and 11.8% (±3.3) higher than in May 2017.

The percentage change from March 2018 to April 2018 was revised from the preliminary estimate of up 0.8% (±0.4) to up a much stronger 1.4% (±0.4).

Inventories

Total inventories of merchant wholesalers — except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, after adjustment for seasonal variations but not for price changes — came in at $633.5 billion at the end of May. That’s up 0.6% (±0.2) from the revised April level.

Total inventories were up 5.9% (±3.7) from the revised May 2017 level.

The percentage change from April 2018 to May 2018 was revised from the advance estimate of up 0.5% (±0.2) to up 0.6% (±0.2).

Inventories/Sales Ratio

The May inventories/sales ratio for merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, based on seasonally adjusted data, was 1.24. The May 2017 ratio was 1.31.

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