WASHINGTON (AP) — Wholesale companies added to their stockpiles in April for a 16th straight month, a sign that businesses were confident in future sales gains. However, fresh data since then has shown the economy has weakened, suggesting supply levels could shrink in the months to come.
The Commerce Department says inventories rose 0.8 percent in April to $447.2 billion, the highest level since October 2008. Sales increased to 0.3 percent to $395.5 billion, marking the ninth sales gain in the past 10 months.
Companies boosted their stockpiles of furniture, machinery, paper, clothing and chemicals. Stockpiles of autos, lumber and computer equipment declined.
Wholesale inventories have increased 16.6 percent since hitting a low in September 2009. U.S. manufacturing has been one of the strongest sectors of the economy since the recession ended.