US business stockpiles and sales fall in November

by: JOSH BOAK, AP Economics Writer Updated:

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. businesses reduced their stockpiles in November, as sales also slipped. The decline in inventories among manufacturers and merchant wholesalers could fan worries about economic growth slowing at the end of 2015.

The Commerce Department says November business inventories fell 0.2 percent, after having declined 0.1 percent in October. Sales dropped 0.2 percent in November following a 0.3 percent setback in October.

Manufacturing — hit hard by low oil prices and a strong dollar — appears to be the center of the weakness. Over the past year, the sector's inventories have slid 2.3 percent and sales have tumbled 3.9 percent.