Sales of U.S. wholesalers rose 5.9% to $7.6 trillion in 2017, from $7.2 trillion in 2016, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. The estimates, which were released Wednesday (March 6), show the first increase in the sales since 2014.
Sales grew for petroleum and petroleum products and metals and minerals, except petroleum. Sales for petroleum and petroleum products rose 23.4% to $974.5 billion, from $790 billion in 2016. Sales for metals and minerals, except petroleum, increased 14.6% to $212.6 billion, from $185.5 billion in 2016. The previous two industries experienced sales declines in 2016 and 2015.
Sales for lumber and other construction materials increased 8.2% to $194.4 billion in 2017, from $179.7 billion in 2016.
The estimates came from the Annual Wholesale Trade Survey, and include statistics for merchant wholesalers of durable and nondurable goods; manufacturers’ sales branches and offices; and wholesale electronic markets, agents and brokers. Sales statistics include e-commerce sales, inventories, purchases and operating expenses. The survey has been completed annually since 1978 and includes about 8,500 wholesale businesses.