U.S. wholesalers increased their stockpiles more slowly in March after seeing less growth in sales.
The Commerce Department says wholesale stockpiles increased 0.3 percent in March, just one-third of the 0.9 percent rise in February. Sales in March were up 0.5 percent, about half the 1.1 percent sales gain in February.
Weaker stockpile growth means businesses aren't stepping up orders for goods. That typically means less growth in factory production and slower economic growth.
While restocking has been growing more slowly this year, the steady gains have pushed wholesale stockpiles to $480.4 billion. That's up 25.3 percent from the low-point hit in September 2009.