Washington, D.C. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that wholesale inventories plunged by 1.4%, nearly double analysts' expectations of 0.8% and the steepest since records began in Jan.1992. It also was the fourth straight monthly decline.
Sales at the wholesale level dropped 3.6%, slightly steeper than analysts' expectations, but less than November's record 7.3% drop.
The Commerce Department said last month that the gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the economy's health, contracted by 3.8% in the fourth quarter. That was a smaller decline than expected, partly because overall inventories grew more than anticipated.