WHAT'S UP? Inventories at the wholesale level rose by 0.8 percent in August, while sales rose by 0.5 percent, the Commerce Department said Friday.
WHAT'S CHANGED? The economic crisis led wholesalers to cut their inventories for 13 consecutive months starting in September 2008. When they started restocking last year, that boosted orders to U.S. factories and helped spur overall economic growth.
WHAT'S IMPORTANT? Disappointing economic data this summer fueled fears among economists that the nation could slip into another recession. The rise in wholesale inventories shows that businesses expect the economy to keep growing.