WASHINGTON — U.S. wholesale businesses left their inventories unchanged as their sales fell in July, which is both good and bad news for trucking.
Good because at least inventories aren’t stockpiling anymore, but bad because fallen sales mean less new purchasing and no new freight to haul.
The Commerce Department says wholesalers left their stockpiles alone in July after increasing them 0.3 percent in June. Their sales fell 0.4 percent in July, reversing a 1.7 percent increase in June. It was the biggest sales drop since January.
The July numbers show stress in the energy industry, which has been pinched by low oil and gas prices. Petroleum wholesalers reduced inventories by 1.2 percent and recorded a 3.5 percent drop in sales in July.
Weak inventory restocking has been a drag on U.S. economic growth. From April through June, businesses overall reduced inventories at the fastest pace since the fall of 2011. That's one reason second-quarter economic growth came in at a lackluster 1.1 percent.
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