U.S. Business Inventories Increase Unexpectedly

By John S. McClenahen Economists expected that U.S. business inventories -- not including semiconductors -- would drift downward about 0.1% in May. The economists were fooled, as inventories at the wholesale and retail level increased 0.1% and 1.0% respectively. At the end of May, overall business inventories adjusted for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were up 0.2% from April to $1.116 trillion, says the U.S. Commerce Department. The increase follows a 0.2% decrease in April. Inventories of manufactured goods, however, continued their decline in May, down 0.4% following a 0.3% decrease in April.

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