Business inventories rise 0.5 percent in April

From news services

WASHINGTON — Businesses added to their stockpiles by the largest amount in three months in April, a better-than-expected showing that provides support for economic growth.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that business inventories grew by 0.5 percent in April, more than double the 0.2 percent rise in March and the best showing since inventories rose by 1 percent in January.

The increase in stockpiles held on shelves and backlots was significantly higher than the 0.3 percent gain that analysts had been expecting and will provide a boost to economic activity in the April-June quarter.

The overall economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, grew at an annual rate of 0.9 percent in the first three months of the year.

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