October 2018 Headline Business Sales Rolling Average Declines. Inventory Grows

Headlines show final business sales data (retail plus wholesale plus manufacturing) an improvement. However, the rolling averages declined.

Analyst Opinion of Business Sales and Inventories

Inventories significantly grew this month. Our primary monitoring tool - the 3-month rolling averages for sales - declined again but remains in expansion. As the monthly data has significant variation, the 3-month averages are the way to view this series. Overall business sales are improving since the low point in 2015 - and the trend over the last 6 months shows little change in the rate of growth.

Econintersect Analysis:

  • unadjusted sales rate of growth accelerated 3.5 % month-over-month, and up 8.0 % year-over-year
  • unadjusted sales (but inflation adjusted) up 5.0 % year-over-year
  • unadjusted sales three-month rolling average compared to the rolling average 1 year ago decelerated 0.5 % month-over-month and is up 6.8 % year-over-year.

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  • unadjusted business inventories growth rate accelerated 0.6 % month-over-month (up 5.1 % year-over-year), and the inventory-to-sales ratio is 1.33 which is normal for this month in times of economic growth).

US Census Headlines:

  • seasonally adjusted sales up 0.3 % month-over-month, up 6.1 % year-over-year (published 6.6 % last month).
  • seasonally adjusted inventories were up 0.6 % month-over-month (up 5.2 % year-over-year), inventory-to-sales ratios were up from 1.36 one year ago - and are now 1.35.
  • market expectations (from Econoday) were for inventory growth of +0.2 % to +0.6 % (consensus +0.5 %).

The way data is released, differences between the business releases pumped out by the U.S. Census Bureau are not easy to understand with a quick reading. The entire story does not come together until the Business Sales Report (this report) comes out. At this point, a coherent and complete business contribution to the economy can be understood.

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