Inventories, Sales Reflect Weak Economy

By John S. McClenahen The latest data from the U.S. Commerce Department on the sales and inventories of American businesses reflect a still-weak U.S. economy. Inventories held by manufacturers and other businesses, but not including semiconductors, were at an estimated $1.55 trillion at the end of February, up 0.6% from January's month-end level. Manufacturers' inventories stood at $432.9 billion at the end of February, up 0.4% from January's end-of-month mark. Sales, meanwhile, fell. Businesses recorded a seasonally adjusted $836.4 billion in sales during February, a full 1% below their January level. Manufacturers did worse on a percentage basis. Their sales fell 1.5% in February to $322.2 billion.

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