Wholesale Inventories Up in April

Inventories on U.S. wholesalers' shelves rose in April as stockpiles of both long-lasting durable goods items like automobiles and nondurable items such as clothing and pharmaceuticals increased, the government said on Thursday.

Wholesale inventories rose 0.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted $302.68 billion in April, the highest level since December last year, when inventory levels reached $303.06 billion. In March, inventories inched up 0.1 percent. Compared to April of last year, inventories at wholesalers were up 3.0 percent.

Sales by wholesalers also rose 0.3 percent in April, climbing to a seasonally adjusted $230.23 billion after falling 1.5 percent in March.

The stock-to-sales ratio -- a measure of how long it would take to totally deplete stocks at the current sales pace -- was 1.31 months' worth in April, the same reading as in March.

Wholesalers' inventories of durable goods -- big-ticket items meant to last for three years or more -- rose 0.1 percent, led by increases in stockpiles of cars, professional and computer equipment, and electrical goods.

Inventories of nondurable goods, rose 0.5 percent in April after gaining 0.9 percent in March. The increase in April was led by gains in drugs, clothing, chemicals and alcohol.

Petroleum inventories fell 1.0 percent during the month, after dropping 1.2 percent in March.