Inventories in the U.S. rose in January by the most since May 2011 as companies replenished warehouses and shelves amid signs demand will pick up.
The 1 percent increase in goods on hand exceeded the highest forecast in a Bloomberg survey and followed a 0.3 percent gain in December that was more than previously estimated, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median estimate was for a 0.5 percent advance.
Businesses are restocking after a cutback in the pace of inventory building in the fourth quarter that weighed on economic growth. Progress in the labor market is sustaining consumer spending as companies invest in new equipment, a sign factory orders may pick up.
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