WASHINGTON – U.S. companies increased their stockpiles a steady pace in November from October, responding to a solid increase in sales.
The Commerce Department says business inventories grew 0.3 percent in November, matching the October gain.
Sales rose 1 percent in November, the best showing since a 1.2 percent rise in September. In October, sales had fallen 0.3 percent, reflecting in part disruptions caused by Superstorm Sandy.
More restocking leads to more factory production, which boosts economic growth. Faster restocking helped the economy grow at a 3.1 percent annual rate from July through September.
Most economists say inventory growth has slowed from this summer, a key reason many are predicting economic growth weakened to a rate below 2 percent in the October-December quarter.