Businesses have been restocking store shelves since the recession ended, a sign that they expect the economic recovery to continue.
Inventories at the wholesale level rose by 0.8 percent in August, following a 1.5 percent increase the month before, the Commerce Department said Friday. Sales rose by 0.5 percent, a slightly smaller gain than the 0.8 percent rise in July.
Businesses helped drive the early stage of the recovery last year by rebuilding inventories that grew thin during the recession. 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.
A series of disappointing data this summer fed fears that the economy could slip into another recession. July's strong results eased those concerns. The August data confirm economists' view that the recovery is continuing at a slow, steady pace.