Wholesale sales rose 0.9% to $63.9 billion in December, following two consecutive monthly declines. Four of seven subsectors recorded higher sales, accounting for 63% of wholesale sales. In dollar terms, the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories subsector led the increase.
In volume terms, wholesale sales rose 0.8 %.
In the fourth quarter, sales declined 1.5%, following 14 consecutive quarterly increases. Lower sales were recorded in five of seven subsectors, led by the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories (-3.1%) and the miscellaneous (-4.0%) subsectors.
Increase in December attributable to higher sales in four of seven subsectors
Higher sales were recorded in the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories subsector, up 1.9% to $10.9 billion, following four consecutive monthly declines. Two of three industries had higher sales, with the motor vehicle industry (+3.0%) leading the increase. Quarterly sales in the subsector fell for a second consecutive quarter, as sales slowed in the second half of 2019.
Sales increased 2.5% in the miscellaneous subsector, to $8.1 billion in December, following three consecutive monthly declines. Most of the rise was attributable to gains in the other miscellaneous (+6.1%) and the agricultural supplies (+4.8%) industries.
On a quarterly basis, the other miscellaneous industry recorded its highest level of quarterly sales in the fourth quarter of 2019 (+4.0%), while the agricultural supplies industry declined 13.6%, its lowest level of quarterly sales since the first quarter of 2018.