(AP) — U.S. companies added to their stockpiles in May but their sales fell for a second straight month. The Commerce Department says business stockpiles grew 0.3 percent in May from April, matching April's increase. Total business sales fell 0.1 percent in May, matching the April decline.
Total stockpiles rose to $1.58 trillion in May. That's nearly 20 percent higher than the low point in September 2009, shortly after the recession ended. When businesses step up restocking, they order more goods. That generally leads to increased factory production and higher economic growth. However, stockpile growth largely depends on the spending habits of U.S. consumers. Americans have reduced their spending at retail businesses for three straight months, constrained by weak job creation and paltry wage increases.