WASHINGTON - Inventories held by wholesalers surged in July by the largest amount in two years while sales rebounded after two consecutive declines.
The U.S. Commerce Department said Friday that wholesale inventories rose 1.3 percent in July, the best performance since July, 2008, and triple the increase economists had expected. Sales at the wholesale level increased 0.6 percent, double what had been expected and the best showing since April.
Businesses restocking depleted store shelves has been a major driver of the economy since late last year and the strong gain seen in July should help alleviate fears that the country could be in danger of slipping into another recession.
Reports this week have eased those fears somewhat. In addition to the new report on inventories, the government said that new applications for jobless benefits fell last week to the lowest level in two months. Also, the U.S. trade deficit narrowed in July as exports rose to the highest level in nearly two years, an indication American manufacturers are still benefiting from rising global demand.
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Inventories held by wholesalers surged in July by the largest amount in two years while sales rebounded after two consecutive declines.