WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Business inventories rose in October as retailers restocked their shelves at the fastest pace since July, while sales declined.
The Commerce Department said on Thursday inventories increased 0.4 percent to $1.619 trillion, after rising 0.7 percent in September.
That was smack in line with expectations in a Reuters poll.
October's inventories were lifted by a 0.9 percent rise in stocks at auto dealers.
Inventories are a key driver to changes in gross domestic product changes. Retail inventories, excluding autos - which go into the calculation of gross domestic product - rose 0.4 percent in October.
The government currently estimates the economy expanded at a 2.7 percent rate in the third quarter. Before Thursday's data, economists were expecting growth to slow to a 1.2 percent rate in the fourth quarter, according to a Reuters poll.
Business sales slipped 0.4 percent in October. At October's sales pace, it would take 1.29 months for businesses to clear shelves, down from 1.28 months in September.