U.S. business inventories rose 0.5% in May, the government said Friday. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a 0.5% increase. Sales fell 0.3% in the month. An increase in inventories adds to gross domestic product and is usually a sign of an expanding economy. The ratio of inventories to sales, meanwhile, rose to 1.26 from 1.25. That’s how many months it would take to sell all the inventory on hand. Inventories soared early in the pandemic as sales slumped, but now companies can’t keep enough inventory in stock. Sales are strong, but shortages of supplies and labor are holding back production.
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