Sales of wood products rise to $3.5 billion
Manufacturing sales declined 3.0% to $58.5 billion in September, the lowest level since May 2021.
Sales of wood products rose 1.5% to $3.5 billion in September, mainly on higher volumes sold. Prices for lumber and other wood products decreased 1.3%, while sales on a constant dollar basis were up 2.4%. Despite the month-over-month increase, sales of wood products were down 29.6% in the third quarter. The quarterly decline in wood sales was primarily attributable to the downturn in prices of lumber and other wood products. The total value of building permits increased 4.3% in September.
Total inventories increased 1.3% to a record-high $97.6 billion in September, driven by higher inventories of wood (+3.6%), primary metal (+3.6%), and fabricated metal (+3.7%). Up until 2021, higher prices for raw materials contributed to the gains in total inventories. Year over year, total inventories rose 12.7%. Raw materials are the largest component of manufacturing inventories followed by finished products. The share of raw materials in total inventories has been rising since the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly due to higher prices.