WASHINGTON — Business inventories rose a sharp 0.6% in September, the biggest gain in four months, while business sales rose 1%, the government said Monday.
The Commerce Department said inventories held on shelves and back lots rose to a seasonally adjusted $682.4 billion in September following a more modest 0.1% increase in August. The September gain was the largest advance since a 0.9% rise in May.
Total business sales climbed to $462.1 billion in September after an equally robust 1.1% jump in August.
While the increase in sales outpaced the rise in inventories, economists said they were still worried about whether inventories were rising at such a rapid pace that manufacturers will be forced to slash production plans.
A buildup of unwanted inventories can be a signal of an impending recession. Economists said such an occurrence was even more of a threat with the huge plunge in stock prices in October.