WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. wholesalers boosted their stockpiles in January by the largest amount in 13 months even though their sales dropped sharply.
The Commerce Department says 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 latest rise 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.