WASHINGTON — Business inventories rose 0.5% in September, the government said today, a moderate increase some analysts say could help ease effects of any recession.
At the same time, the department said sales dipped 0.5% to a seasonally adjusted $548.7 billion, down from $551.5 billion a month earlier. August sales had jumped 2.1%. It was the first decline in sales since a 0.4% drop in July and the largest since a 1% decrease last April.
The Commerce Department said inventories held on shelves and back lots in September totaled a seasonally adjusted $811.5 billion, up from $807.5 billion the previous month.
But the accumulation slowed from a 0.7% gain in both July and August. Those were the largest increases since a 0.8% advance in July, 1989.