Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
In this Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, photo, a ship to shore crane unloads a shipping container at the Georgia Ports Authority Garden City terminal, in Savannah, Ga. The Commerce Department releases wholesale trade inventories for December on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
U.S. wholesale stockpiles rise 0.3 percent December
First Published Feb 11 2014 08:49 am • Last Updated Jun 27 2014 05:06 pm

Washington » U.S. wholesale businesses increased their stockpiles in December at the slowest pace since last summer, another sign that the economy lost some momentum at the end of 2013.

Wholesalers boosted stockpiles by 0.3 percent in December from November, smallest gain since July, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Sales growth slowed to 0.5 percent December after healthy gains of 1 percent in November and 1.1 percent in October.

Rising stockpiles boost economic growth because they reflect expanding production at factories. Bigger inventories accounted for more than 40 percent of economic growth in the July through September period last year when gross domestic product increased at a robust 4.1 percent annual pace.

The surge in stockpiles slowed in the last three months of 2013, and overall growth fell back to a still-healthy 3.2 percent.

After the December increase, inventories at the wholesale level stood at a seasonally adjusted $517.9 billion, up 4 percent from a year earlier.

The government tracks inventories held by wholesalers, manufacturers and retailers. A report covering all inventory levels comes out Thursday.

At the wholesale level, inventories of computer equipment rose by 5.3 percent after a healthy 3.6 percent gain in November. Automotive stockpiles rose 0.6 percent after dropping in November. Overall, inventories of long-lasting durable goods rose 1.3 percent in December. But non-durable goods stockpiles fell 1.3 percent, pulled down by a 5.2 percent drop in inventories of farm products.

Economists had hoped 2014 would be a breakout year for the U.S. economy, still struggling to regain full strength nearly five years after the Great Recession ended. But recent economic reports have sent out conflicting signals.

Consumer spending, which drives 70 percent of U.S. economic activity, rose at a solid pace in December. Consumer confidence has also been healthy. Unemployment has fallen to a five-year low 6.6 percent.


story continues below
story continues below

But two straight months of weak job growth have raised questions about the economy’s strength. Employers added a disappointing 113,000 jobs in January and just 75,000 in December. And part of the drop in unemployment — from 7.2 percent in October — has been caused by Americans dropping out of the job market, which means they can no longer be counted among the jobless.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.