Wholesale inventories plunge by most in 16 years

WASHINGTON (AP) - The government says wholesalers cut back on their inventories in December by the largest amount in 16 years, as companies slashed stockpiles amid the deepening recession.

The reduction means wholesalers ordered fewer new goods, leading to reduced production and potentially more job layoffs.

The Commerce Department says wholesale inventories fell 1.4 percent, nearly double analysts' expectations of 0.8 percent. It also was the fourth straight monthly decline.

Sales at the wholesale level dropped 3.6 percent, slightly steeper than analysts' expectations, but less than November's record 7.3 percent drop.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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