Net of inventory accumulation, real GDP for the third quarter was slightly negative, US government data released Thursday morning show. Real GDP grew at an annual rate of 2%, below the forecasters’ consensus of 2.6%, the Commerce Department reported. But a jump in inventories added 2.07 percentage points annualized to GDP. That’s more than the reported growth.
That’s a very odd number, considering that the inventory-to-sales ratio of US business stands at the lowest level on record, due to supply-chain constraints that prevent businesses from restocking. It’s likely that the inventory number was exaggerated. If that’s true, the US economy shrank during the third quarter.