- The Washington Times - Friday, September 13, 2013

In a hopeful sign for the economy’s final quarter of the month, U.S. businesses in July restocked their shelves and warehouses at the fastest pace since January, according to new government figures released Friday.

The Commerce Department reported that from June to July, business inventories increased 0.4 percent. Total business sales during this time saw growth from just 0.2 percent to 0.6 percent.

Business stockpiles in July stood at a seasonally-adjusted $1.66 trillion — a 3.2 percent increase from a year ago. Retail inventories saw an 0.8 percent growth, while manufacturers reported an increase of 0.2 percent and wholesalers 0.1 percent.

Currently, manufacturers account for 40 percent of business inventories, while retailers narrowly beat wholesalers in their nearly-equal share of one-third each.

The higher inventory levels are seen by economists as a sign of economic growth, suggesting that retailers and warehouses are stocking up supplies in anticipation of better sales in the months to come.