Wholesale inventories took a surprising jump in October, with demand for machinery and lumber easing noticeably.
The Census Bureau said Monday that wholesale inventories rose by 0.8 percent in October, to $392.9 billion, and are up 10.1 percent from a year earlier. Meanwhile, wholesale sales fell by 0.5 percent, and are up 5.9 percent from the October 2005 level.
Economists were looking for an increase in inventories of closer to 0.5 percent.
October sales of durable goods decreased 0.4 percent from last month, but were up 6.3 percent from a year ago. Compared to last month, sales of machinery, equipment and supplies were down 3.3 percent, while sales of motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and supplies increased 2.5 percent.
October sales of nondurable goods were down 0.6 percent from last month, but were up 5.5 percent from last year. Compared to last month, sales of petroleum and petroleum products decreased 5.1 percent.
End-of-month inventories of durable goods increased 0.7 percent from September and were up 11 percent from last October. Compared to last month, inventories of electrical and electronic goods increased 2.8 percent. End-of-month inventories of nondurable goods increased 0.9 percent from September and were up 8.4 percent compared to last October. Inventories of farm product raw materials increased 23.2 percent from last month.
The October inventories/sales ratio for wholesalers was 1.20, versus the October 2005 ratio of 1.15, meaning wholesalers had enough stock to last 1.2 months.