US wholesale stockpiles rise 1.2 percent
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. wholesalers boosted their stockpiles in January by the largest amount in 13 months even though their sales dropped sharply.
Inventories at the wholesale level rose 1.2 percent in January compared with December when inventories had edged up a slight 0.1 percent, the Commerce Department said Friday.
It was the biggest gain since a similar increase in December 2011.
Sales at the wholesale level dropped 0.8 percent after being flat in December.
Sluggish growth in stockpiles was a key reason the economy barely grew in the October-December quarter. But economists believe stronger job growth and other signs of an economic rebound will spur businesses to restock this quarter.
Increased stockpiling supports economic growth by triggering greater factory production.
The economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, grew at a barely discernible 0.1 percent rate in the fourth quarter. But many economists believe faster inventory building in the current quarter will help lift growth to a faster pace of around 2 percent in the January-March period.
In January, the rise in stockpiles was led by a 3.4 percent gain in lumber inventories, a sign that building supply stores are boosting stockpiles in response to the rebound in home construction that has been occurring.
Business Photo Galleriesview all
- 89274Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 14075Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms drink in success of 'Hangover' series
- 8763Oklahoma tornadoes: Rams quarterback Sam Bradford leading aid effort
- 7637Hobby Lobby argues case before federal judges
- 7585Oklahoma tornadoes: ‘All I could do was sit there and hold her'
- 7472How to help tornado victims
- 6832OKC Thunder: Kevin Durant tours Moore, meets with residents