WASHINGTON — U.S. businesses boosted their stockpiles by a slight amount in September while their sales increased by the most in three months.
The Commerce Department says business inventories edged up 0.1 per cent in September, slower than the 0.2 per cent gain seen in August. Sales were up a solid 0.7 per cent, double the 0.3 per cent rise in August. It was the best showing since a 1 per cent gain in June.
The gain in sales was evidence that the economy is gaining strength after a sluggish period at the beginning of the year.
Overall economic growth, as measured by the gross domestic product, increased at an annual rate of 2.9 per cent in the July-September quarter, double the 1.4 per cent GDP gain in the second quarter.
Economists expect solid growth this quarter.
A separate report Tuesday showed that retail sales increased 0.8 per cent in October following an upwardly revised 1 per cent gain in September. Both increases suggested that economic growth could accelerate more in the final three months of the year.
The inventory report showed that stockpiles held by retailers rose 0.2 per cent in September while inventories at the wholesale level edged up 0.1 per cent and stockpiles held by manufacturers were unchanged.
The gain in business sales in September was led by the 1 per cent increase in retail sales followed by an increase of 0.8 per cent in sales at the manufacturing level. Sales by wholesalers edged up a modest 0.2 per cent.
Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press