WASHINGTON (UPI) — Manufacturing and trade business inventories rose 0.6 percent in February but sales rose 0.7 percent, the U.S. Commerce Department said Monday.
Inventories rose to $1.57 trillion, a 7.6 percent increase from a year earlier.
Trade sales and manufacturers’ shipments rose 0.7 percent, reaching $1.23 trillion. From February 2011, sales and shipments jumped 7.6 percent.
The inventory-sales ratio for manufacturing and trade businesses was 1.28 at the end of February, unchanged from February 2011.
The ratio indicates how long it would take to sell all inventory at current prices and attempts to indicate whether inventories are rising due to an anticipation of sales or, conversely, a decline in sales that is causing an inventory backlog.
Sales rising faster than inventories suggests manufacturers will be hiring to pick up the pace to restock warehouses and stores.