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					CURRENT BUSINESS REPORTS

Monthly Wholesale Trade
Economics and Statistics Administration U.S. CENSUS BUREAU

U.S. Department of Commerce

Sales and Inventories July 1999
BW/99-7 Issued September 1999

MONTHLY WHOLESALE TRADE: SALES AND INVENTORIES
JULY 1999
Sales. July 1999 sales of merchant wholesalers, after adjustment for seasonal variations and trading-day differences but not for price changes, were $227.3 billion, down 0.2 percent (+/- 0.4%) from the revised June level and were 7.4 percent (+/- 1.4%) above the July 1998 level. The June preliminary estimate was revised downward $0.3 billion or 0.1 percent. Among durable goods, sales of furniture and home furnishings were up 3.5 percent from last month and motor vehicles and automotive equipment increased 2.4 percent. Among nondurable goods, sales of petroleum and petroleum products increased 4.9 percent from June, while farm-product raw materials were down 4.4 percent. Inventories. Total inventories of merchant wholesalers, after adjustment for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were $293.9 billion at the end of July, up 0.9 percent (+/- 0.4%) from the revised June level and were 5.3 percent (+/- 1.2%) above July 1998. The June preliminary estimate was revised upward $0.4 billion or 0.1 percent. End-of-month inventories of durable goods increased 0.8 percent (+/-0.5%) from last month and were 5.5 percent (+/-1.6%) above July 1998. Compared to last month, inventories of electrical goods increased 3.4 percent and lumber and other construction materials rose 3.0 percent. End-of-month inventories of nondurable goods increased 1.0 percent (+/-0.7%) from June and were 4.9 percent (+/-2.3%) above last year. Inventories of groceries and related products grew 2.3 percent from last month and drugs, drug proprietaries, and druggists’ sundries were up 1.2 percent.

Inventories/Sales Ratio. The July inventories/sales ratio for merchant wholesalers, based on seasonally adjusted data, was 1.29. The July 1998 ratio was 1.32.

Data in this report are based on a sample and, therefore, are subject to sampling and nonsampling variability. A discussion of the reliability of the data and general survey methodology appears in BW/98-A Current Business Reports.

Monthly Inventories/Sales Ratios of Merchant Wholesalers: 1990 to 1999
(Data adjusted for seasonal and trading-day differences, but not for price changes)

1 .4 0

1 .3 5

1 .3 0

1 .2 5

1 .2 0 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999

Monthly Wholesale Trade for August is scheduled to be released October 8, 1999, at 10:00 a.m. Address inquiries concerning this report to Service Sector Statistics Division, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC 20233, or call Ronald Piencykoski, 301-457-2779 or 301-457-2764. For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402. This report is available on day of issue through the Department of Commerce’s online Economic Bulletin Board (202-4821986). The data are also available on the Internet - http://www.census.gov/svsd/www/mwts.html.

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Table 1. Estimated Monthly Sales, Inventories, and Inventories/Sales Ratios of Merchant Wholesalers: 1999 and 1998
[In millions of dollars]

Sales
Monthly Percent change Jul. 1998 Jul./ Jun. Jun./ Jul. 99 May Jul. 98 Jul. 1999 Monthly Jun. 1999

Inventories
Percent change Jul. 1998 Jul./ Jun. Jun./ May

Inventories/sales ratios (p)
Jun. 1999

SIC1 code

Kind of Business
2

Jul. 1999

(p)

Jun. 1999

(r)

(r)

(p)

(r)

(r)

Jul. 99 Jul. Jul. 98 1999

(r)

Jul. 1998

(r)

Adjusted U.S. Total 2 2 7 , 2 9 9 2 2 7 , 8 6 3 12 1, 9 6 7 12 1, 7 8 5 50 Durable 1 9,421 1 8,961 501 Automotive 4,270 4,1 24 502 Furniture 8,966 8,827 503 Lumber 22,701 22,708 504 P rof. equip. 7,660 7,622 505 Metals 1 9,434 1 9,427 506 E lectrical 6,71 8 6,791 507 Hardware 20,309 20,625 508 Machinery 1 2,488 1 2,700 509 Other Durable 10 5 , 3 3 2 10 6 , 0 7 8 51 Nondurable 8,1 83 8,247 511 Paper 1 2,253 1 2,377 512 Drugs 7,552 7,772 513 Apparel 29,853 29,696 514 Groceries 8,525 8,91 6 515 Farm-products 4,428 4,473 516 Chemicals 1 2,947 1 2,344 517 Petroleum 5,405 5,535 518 Alcohol 1 86 6,1 1 6,718 519 Other Nondur. Not Adjusted U.S. Total 2 2 5 , 3 7 2 2 3 7 , 5 2 5 12 1, 6 0 9 12 8 , 6 4 3 Durable 1 9,673 20,1 75 Automotive 4,1 76 4,1 57 Furniture 9,674 9,91 3 Lumber 22,247 24,1 61 P rof. equip. 7,438 8,034 Metals 1 9,415 20,1 07 E lectrical 7,1 68 7,538 Hardware 1 9,842 21,883 Machinery 11,976 1 2,675 Other Durable Nondurable 10 3 , 7 6 3 10 8 , 8 8 2 7,798 8,280 Paper 11,812 1 2,352 Drugs 7,824 7,788 Apparel 30,569 30,438 Groceries 7,357 8,497 Farm-products 4,41 5 4,884 Chemicals 1 2,753 1 59 2,1 Petroleum 5,551 6,1 44 Alcohol 1 5,684 1 8,340 Other Nondur.

2 11, 6 6 5 114 , 13 7 1 6,932 3,980 7,761 21,496 8,1 40 1 7,604 6,51 6 20,1 77 11,531 97,528 7,51 8 1 0,372 7,01 2 29,21 3 8,802 4,533 1 0,271 5,1 08 1 4,699

-0.2 0.1 2.4 3.5 1 .6 0.0 0.5 0.0 -1.1 -1.5 -1.7 -0.7 -0.8 -1.0 -2.8 0.5 -4.4 -1.0 4.9 -2.3 -3.2

1. 8 1. 4 2.4 1 .5 2.2 0.5 0.7 2.3 -2.4 1 .8 1 .8 2.1 0.6 2.4 -1.8 -1.5 3.2 4.2 3.5 1 .6 1 0.1

7.4 293,934 6.9 1 4.7 7.3 1 5.5 5.6 -5.9 1 0.4 3.1 0.7 8.3 8.0 8.8 1 8.1 7.7 2.2 -3.1 -2.3 26.1 5.8 1 0.1 19 2 , 4 3 9 27,973 6,1 97 8,961 25,41 7 1 2,842 27,422 1 3,390 52,307 1 7,930 10 1, 4 9 5 9,91 4 1 7,431 11,502 1 04 8,1 1 0,789 4,809 4,1 31 6,540 1 8,275

2 9 1,367 2 7 9 , 0 6 7 19 0 , 8 3 7 27,678 6,085 8,700 25,480 1 2,938 26,530 1 3,300 52,040 1 8,086 10 0 , 5 3 0 9,887 1 7,217 11,517 1 7,693 1 0,768 4,771 4,1 6 1 6,439 1 22 8,1 18 2 , 3 3 1 25,028 6,026 8,31 0 27,116 1 3,226 25,532 1 91 3,1 47,300 1 6,602 96,736 9,357 1 4,300 1 2,618 1 36 7,1 9,845 4,872 4,285 5,793 1 8,530

0.9 0.8 1 .1 1 .8 3.0 -0.2 -0.7 3.4 0.7 0.5 -0.9 1. 0 0.3 1 .2 -0.1 2.3 0.2 0.8 0.4 1 .6 0.8

0.4 0.6 0.3 2.1 0.2 0.8 0.0 0.5 0.8 1 .0 -0.2 0.0 2.1 2.7 -3.1 -1.5 -2.6 0.1 6.4 -4.5 1 .9

5.3 5.5 11.8 2.8 7.8 -6.3 -2.9 7.4 1 .5 1 0.6 8.0 4.9 6.0 21.9 -8.8 5.6 9.6 -1.3 -3.6 1 2.9 -1.4

1. 2 9 1. 5 8 1 .44 1 .45 1 .00 1 .12 1 .68 1 .41 1 .99 2.58 1 .44 0.96 1 .21 1 .42 1 .52 0.61 1 .27 1 .09 0.32 1 .21 1 .13

1. 2 8 1. 5 7 1 .46 1 .48 0.99 1 .12 1 .70 1 .37 1 .96 2.52 1 .42 0.95 1 .20 1 .39 1 .48 0.60 1 .21 1 .07 0.33 1 .16 1 .08

1. 3 2 1. 6 0 1 .48 1 .51 1 .07 1 .26 1 .62 1 .45 2.02 2.34 1 .44 0.99 1 .24 1 .38 1 .80 0.59 1 .12 1 .07 0.42 1 .13 1 .26

Sales to date
1999
2 14 , 0 6 5 115 , 7 15 1 7,305 3,956 8,591 21,539 8,042 1 7,991 7,096 20,056 11,139 98,350 7,428 1 0,331 7,461 30,235 7,878 4,628 1 0,363 5,445 1 4,581 -5.1 -5.5 -2.5 0.5 -2.4 -7.9 -7.4 -3.4 -4.9 -9.3 -5.5 -4.7 -5.8 -4.4 0.5 0.4 -13.4 -9.6 4.9 -9.7 -14.5 7.1 9.8 8.7 5.6 1 2.7 1 4.4 7.9 11.5 1 0.0 6.5 7.1 4.0 8.1 8.2 1 8.1 -2.2 3.1 11.7 2.8 1 0.5 2.5 5.3 2 9 2 , 3 10 2 8 7 , 9 2 4 2 7 7 , 7 6 5 19 1, 6 0 7 27,346 6,1 82 8,987 25,327 1 2,977 27,061 1 3,486 52,300 1 7,941 9 6 , 3 17 9,699 1 6,683 11,701 1 7,481 8,324 4,738 3,939 6,536 1 7,216 18 4 , 4 6 8 24,828 6,1 83 8,526 27,441 1 3,345 26,247 1 3,244 47,820 1 6,834 93,297 9,366 1 4,114 1 2,997 1 02 7,1 7,285 4,887 4,1 69 5,903 1 7,474 1. 5 1. 6 1 .5 2.8 2.6 1 .5 -0.1 4.2 -0.3 1 .1 0.9 1. 4 2.3 3.1 1 .2 3.4 -4.3 2.1 1 .8 1 .8 -0.1 -0.1 0.2 -1.5 4.2 0.7 0.6 -0.1 1 .9 -0.2 -0.3 -0.3 -0.7 2.3 4.2 1 .0 -2.1 -9.3 -1.9 1 .8 0.2 -2.7 5.2 5.5 11.8 2.8 8.2 -6.4 -2.9 7.4 1 .5 1 0.6 7.6 4.7 6.0 21.9 -8.8 5.6 9.3 -1.0 -3.8 1 2.7 -1.6 1, 5 3 3 , 17 8 8 2 1,472 1 30,244 27,591 58,872 1 ,675 51 54,1 67 1 28,657 47,029 1 ,777 41 81,460 7 11, 7 0 6 54,996 81,974 52,51 9 205,903 57,462 30,782 77,800 36,596 113,674

1998
1, 4 6 3 , 0 5 0 7 8 5 , 19 9 117,024 27,288 52,1 23 1 46,364 57,51 9 1 20,360 44,840 1 42,554 77,1 27 677,851 51,011 70,1 07 50,056 1 99,134 62,394 32,520 71,136 34,004 1 07,489

50
501 502 503 504 505 506 507 508 509

5 . 1 19 4 , 6 0 8 1 3.7 5.6 1 2.6 3.3 -7.5 7.9 1 .0 -1.1 7.5 5.5 5.0 1 4.3 4.9 1 .1 -6.6 -4.6 23.1 1 .9 7.6 27,749 6,358 9,221 25,697 1 2,958 28,1 90 1 3,444 52,882 1 09 8,1 97,702 9,924 1 7,204 11,847 1 8,068 7,962 4,838 4,011 6,651 1 97 7,1

51
511 512 513 514 515 516 517 518 519

p Preliminary estimate. r Revised. 1 For a full description of the SIC codes shown above, see the "1987 Standard Industrial Classification Manual" or the Current Business Reports "Annual Benchmark Report for Wholesale Trade" publication. 2 Data adjusted for seasonal variations and, in the case of sales, also for trading-day differences. See Table 3 for seasonal adjustment factors used.

U.S. Census Bureau

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Table 2. Coefficients of Variation and Standard Error for Sales and Inventories
Coefficients of variation for level (x 10 0 ) Standard error for trend Ratio of two consecutive months Sales M edian Inv. M edian Coefficients of variation for level (x 10 0 ) Cumulative sales estimates Current year P revious year Standard error for trend Current year cumulative to previous year cumulative

SIC code

Kind of Business

P reliminary estimates Sales M edian Inv. M edian

Final estimates Sales M edian Inv. M edian

Year-to-year estimates Sales M edian Inv. M edian

U.S. Total 50 501 502 503 504 505 506 507 508 509 51 511 512 513 514 515 516 517 518 519 Durable Automotive Furniture Lumber P rof. equip. Metals E lectrical Hardware Machinery Other Durable Nondurable P aper Drugs Apparel Groceries Farm-products Chemicals P etroleum Alcohol Other Nondur.

1.2 1.8 4.4 6.5 5.5 6.3 5.0 5.6 5.4 6.2 6.3 2.0 5.0 6.3 5.4 3.0 6.8 5.6 6.9 6.2 6.4

1.5 2.5 4.8 7.9 5.3 7.0 10.1 7.1 6.5 6.7 9.4 2.3 5.1 4.8 7.3 4.9 8.6 6.3 14.0 8.6 7.7

1.1 1.8 4.3 6.4 5.3 6.0 5.0 5.7 5.5 6.3 6.4 1.9 5.0 6.3 5.0 3.0 6.8 5.7 6.9 6.3 6.5

1.4 2.4 4.8 7.8 5.3 7.0 10.0 7.0 6.3 6.6 9.2 2.2 5.1 4.8 7.5 4.9 8.6 6.4 14.0 8.7 7.6

0.4 0.6 1.0 2.0 1.3 1.4 1.1 1.3 1.3 2.1 1.4 0.6 1.1 1.0 2.2 0.7 2.3 1.3 1.0 1.5 1.9

0.2 0.3 0.9 1.0 0.7 0.7 0.8 0.6 0.7 0.6 0.9 0.4 0.6 0.6 1.1 0.6 1.6 0.7 1.3 1.4 1.2

0.8 1.1 2.3 2.7 2.1 3.3 1.6 2.3 1.6 2.6 2.1 1.0 1.8 2.2 3.0 1.1 2.9 1.9 1.7 1.5 4.1

0.8 1.0 3.0 2.5 2.6 2.1 2.8 2.3 2.1 2.0 2.4 1.3 1.7 1.6 2.5 1.3 4.2 2.2 1.9 8.8 4.1

1.3 1.8 4.4 6.1 5.7 6.6 4.9 5.6 5.7 6.0 6.4 2.0 5.4 6.2 4.7 3.0 6.4 5.3 6.9 6.0 6.7

1.1 2.2 5.1 6.6 5.7 5.5 4.8 6.3 5.7 6.8 6.1 1.7 5.1 6.8 4.5 3.0 5.7 5.8 7.3 6.3 5.5

0.7 1.0 2.1 1.5 1.4 3.0 0.8 2.0 1.1 2.0 1.7 0.6 1.0 1.2 1.8 0.8 2.3 1.1 1.4 1.3 2.8

Note: The median measures of variability are based on the most recent 12 months of data.

Sample Design and Reliability of Data
There are two types of errors possible in an estimate based on a sample survey: sampling and nonsampling. Sampling errors occur because observations are made on a sample, not on the entire population, and different samples could have led to different estimates. Standard errors and coefficients of variation, as calculated for this report, are measures of sampling variation. The margin of sampling error, as used on page 1, gives a range about the estimate which is a 90% confidence interval. If, for example, the trend estimate is up 1.2% and the standard error is 0.9%, then the margin of sampling error is ±1.65 x 0.9% or ±1.5%, and the 90% confidence interval is -0.3% to +2.7%. If the interval contains 0, it cannot be stated with certainty whether there was an increase or decrease. For monthly level, the coefficient of variation (CV) is given. The resulting confidence interval is the estimated value ±1.65 x CV x (the estimated value). Nonsampling errors are usually attributed to many possible sources: (1) coverage error - failure to accurately represent all population units in the sample, (2) inability to obtain information about all sample cases, (3) response errors, possibly due to definitional difficulties or misreporting, (4) mistakes in recording or coding the data obtained, and (5) other errors of collection or processing, or in imputing for missing or inconsistent data. Coverage error has an effect on the accuracy of estimates for this survey to the extent that the administrative records system, which forms the basis of our survey universe frame, does not contain all legal businesses. A major source of nonsampling error in the published estimates is due to the need to impute data for nonrespondents and for late and inconsistent reports. For all kinds of businesses combined, imputed data amount to about 31 percent of the total monthly wholesale sales estimates and 32 percent of the total monthly wholesale inventories estimates. Nonsampling errors also occur in complete censuses. Although no direct measures of these errors have been obtained, precautionary steps were taken in all phases of the collection, processing, and tabulation of the data to minimize their influence.

U.S. Census Bureau

U.S. Department of Commerce U.S. Census Bureau Washington, DC 20233
Official Business Penalty for Private Use, $300

FIRST-CLASS MAIL POSTAGE & FEES PAID CENSUS PERMIT No. G-58

Table 3. Seasonal Adjustment Factors for Sales and Inventories of Merchant Wholesalers
SIC code Kind of Business Aug. Jul.r
0.989 0.996 1.013 0.978 1.079 0.980 0.971 0.999 1.067 0.977 0.959 0.985 0.953 0.964 1.036 1.024 0.863 0.997 0.985 1.027 0.969

Sales 1999 Jun.r May
1.043 1.058 1.064 1.008 1.123 1.064 1.054 1.035 1.110 1.061 0.998 1.028 1.004 0.998 1.002 1.025 0.953 1.092 0.985 1.110 1.097 0.991 0.976 1.002 0.969 1.018 0.935 0.984 0.950 0.985 1.014 0.949 1.009 0.935 0.944 0.833 1.032 0.954 1.019 0.991 1.020 1.178

Apr.
1.010 1.007 1.046 1.016 1.019 0.976 1.031 0.967 0.991 1.063 0.964 1.015 0.996 1.010 0.960 0.984 0.943 1.020 1.028 1.000 1.154

1998 Jul.r
1.009 1.017 1.022 0.994 1.107 1.002 0.988 1.022 1.089 0.994 0.966 1.006 0.988 0.996 1.064 1.035 0.895 1.021 1.009 1.066 0.992

Aug.
0.981 1.002 0.976 1.039 1.007 1.001 1.001 1.027 1.003 0.998 1.024 0.941 0.978 0.972 1.019 0.982 0.696 1.003 0.995 1.000 0.922

Jul.r
0.993 1.011 0.992 1.026 1.029 1.011 1.009 1.028 1.004 1.011 1.010 0.959 1.001 0.987 1.030 0.998 0.738 1.006 0.971 1.017 0.941

Inventories 1999 Jun.r May
0.985 1.001 0.988 1.016 1.033 0.994 1.003 1.020 1.014 1.005 0.992 0.956 0.981 0.969 1.016 0.988 0.773 0.993 0.957 1.015 0.950 0.994 1.009 1.006 0.996 1.028 0.996 1.004 1.006 1.024 1.018 0.993 0.965 0.979 0.955 0.975 0.994 0.830 1.014 1.000 0.967 0.995

Apr.
1.006 1.009 1.015 0.974 1.028 1.007 1.005 0.996 1.021 1.020 0.983 1.009 1.008 1.006 0.962 0.987 0.991 1.002 0.992 0.993 1.058

1998 Jul.r
0.993 1.012 0.992 1.026 1.026 1.012 1.009 1.028 1.004 1.011 1.014 0.960 1.001 0.987 1.030 0.998 0.740 1.003 0.973 1.019 0.943

50 501 502 503 504 505 506 507 508 509 51 511 512 513 514 515 516 517 518 519

U.S. Total1 Durable Automotive Furniture Lumber P rof. equip. Metals E lectrical Hardware Machinery Other Durable Nondurable P aper Drugs Apparel Groceries Farm-products Chemicals P etroleum Alcohol Other Nondur.

1.017 1.025 0.996 1.034 1.124 1.003 1.025 1.044 1.050 1.003 1.037 1.007 1.057 0.993 1.106 1.014 0.937 1.032 1.003 1.054 0.965

r Revised. 1 Adjusted sales and inventories data shown in Table 1 are obtained by dividing the unadjusted data by the adjustment factors shown above for the corresponding group. Adjusted data for the totals are obtained by adding the durable and nondurable goods. Seasonal factors shown for the totals will provide an approximation of the adjusted estimates, but may show small differences from the published data. Note: The seasonal factors shown have been computed based on monthly estimates through the current month preliminary estimates.

U.S. Census Bureau