Sales. The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that the combined value of distributive trade sales and manufacturers’ shipments for July, adjusted for seasonal and trading-day differences but not for price changes, was estimated at $978.4 billion, up 0.1 percent (±0.2%)* from June 2009 and down 17.8 percent (±0.4%) from July 2008.
Inventories. Manufacturers’ and trade inventories, adjusted for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were estimated at an end-of-month level of $1,332.5 billion, down 1.0 percent (±0.1%) from June 2009 and down 11.8 percent (±0.4%) from July 2008.
Inventories/Sales Ratio. The total business inventories/sales ratio based on seasonally adjusted data at the end of July was 1.36. The July 2008 ratio was 1.27.
This is the longest inventory contraction since 2002.
The above tells you how long it would take, at current sales rates, to clear inventories. We have a slight down tick from 1.38 months to 1.36 months. Kind of flat line if you ask me.
I want to point to Paul Krugman's latest post on the Macro economic situation and "borrow" one of his charts, below. Seems Dr. Doom ain't crazy after all to worry about a "W" or double dip recession. Notice how Krugman shows how the increase in inventories contributed to GDP growth during 2001.
So, while the MSM claims manufacturing will see the increase in retail sales as a reason to increase output, as just noted, minus autos, retail sales increases really weren't so strong and it's possible we have an anomaly in the data due to cash for clunkers.