Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A stack of plywood is moved with a forklift in the warehouse at Maze Lumber in Peru, Illinois.
U.S. business inventories wilted slightly in October, meeting economists’ expectations after flattening out in the prior month.
The Commerce Department’s measure of business production dipped 0.1 percent in October, down to $1,885.7 billion. Inventories were up 3.5 percent from the prior year.
The key technical indicator, based on data from three trade and manufacturing surveys, saw the largest gain in nine months in August, rising 0.7 percent from the month before.
The ratio of inventories to sales in October was 1.35, an incremental decrease from September. At October’s sales pace, it would take 1.35 months for businesses to clear their shelves.
The Manufacturing and Trade Inventories and Sales survey adds up the value of trade sales and manufacturers’ shipments. The measure helps track and make predictions about near-term business production activity.