Worldwide semiconductor sales grew 5% sequentially during the month of August, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). The outfit said chip sales in August were $19.1 billion, which compares to $18.2 billion during July. That increase marks the sixth successive month of growth, and comes after a 17% rise in sales in the second quarter -- but things are still looking sour next to last year's figures.

Semiconductor sales in August were down 16.1% from the same month a year ago, and year-to-date sales through August are 21.3% lower than the same period last year. SIA president George Scalise believes various incentive programs for energy-efficient products, ranging from automobiles to home appliances, have spurred the boost in consumption. Scalise added, "industry momentum has turned positive, following the steepest downturn in more than a decade."