November Headline Wholesale Sales Improves

The headlines say wholesale sales were up month-over-month with inventory levels remaining very elevated. Our analysis shows an improvement in the rate of growth for the rolling averages which remain in negative territory.

Analyst Opinion of this month's Wholesale Sales

Overall, the rolling averages tell the real story - and they improved this month. This sector's growth remains in a long term downtrend. The rolling averages are in contraction this month - and get worse if one adjusts for inflation.

To add to the confusion, year-over-year employment changes and sales growth do not match.

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This data set is considered an outlier and may have issues with data gathering, changing dynamics of the wholesale industry, or definition issues with what is considered wholesale.

Note that Econintersect analysis is based on the change from one year ago. Econintersect Analysis:

  • the unadjusted sales rate of growth decelerated by 0.6 % month-over-month.
  • unadjusted sales year-over-year growth is down 2.1 % year-over-year (it was down 1.1 % YoY last month)
  • unadjusted sales (but inflation-adjusted) down 6.0 % year-over-year
  • the 3 month rolling average of unadjusted sales accelerated by 0.4 % month-over-month, and down 0.6 % year-over-year.

  • unadjusted inventories up 3.2 % year-over-year (decelerated 0.1 % month-over-month), the unadjusted inventory-to-sales ratio is 1.38 which is at recessionary levels.

US Census Headlines based on seasonally adjusted data:

  • sales up 1.5 % month-over-month,up 0.8 % year-over-year (it was reported sales -1.4 % last month YoY)
  • inventories down 0.1 % month-over-month - up 3.3 % year-over-year,
  • inventory-to-sales ratios were 1.32 one year ago - and are now 1.35
  • expectations for inventory growth from Econoday was -0.2 % to 0.2 % (consensus 0.0%).

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Wholesale sales were at record highs for almost two years - until 2015 where they contracted year-over-year - this contraction ended in 2017 but returned in 2019. This month sales significantly slowed.

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