Going nowhere as it struggles to maintain what were the recession lows of prior cycles:
Wholesale inventories, up 0.3 percent in September, held steady relative to sales at only a slightly elevated level. Wholesale sales rose only 0.2 percent in the month, keeping the stock-to-sales ratio in the sector unchanged at 1.19, a reading that is at the high end of recent trend.
Wholesale auto inventories, which rose heavily relative to sales in August, fell back slightly, to a ratio of 1.58 from 1.59. Unit vehicle sales, released last week by manufacturers, firmed slightly in September which suggests that wholesale auto inventories may be a little on the light side right now which is good news for manufacturers.
Apparel wholesale inventories also lightened up as did hardware inventories. But there are sectors showing unwanted builds including computers, machinery, drugs, and paper products.
Data released last week in the factory orders report showed no unwanted inventory pressures for manufacturers in September. The missing piece for September inventories, retail inventories, will be released Friday with the business inventories report. Lean levels of inventories may be a negative for GDP calculations but are a plus for the production and employment outlooks.