US wholesale stockpiles rose 0.8 percent in May; sales up modestly

U.S. wholesalers boosted their stockpiles in May by the largest amount in six months, while sales rose by a modest amount.

The Commerce Department says wholesale stockpiles rose 0.8 percent, double the gain in April and the largest one-month rise since November. Sales were up 0.3 percent in May following a 1.7 percent surge in April. That had been the biggest sales increase in more than a year.

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The strong increase in inventory building in May could be evidence that businesses are growing more confident about the future. A decision to accelerate inventory stocking would provide support for overall economic growth.

The May rise in stockpiles left inventories at the wholesale level at a seasonally adjusted $449.8 billion, 3.8 percent below a year ago.