The combined value of distributive trade sales and manufacturers’ shipments for March was $1.24 trillion, up 0.6 percent compared to February 2012 and 5.8 percent from March 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Inventories were estimated at an end-of-month level of $1.58 trillion, up 0.3 percent compared to February 2012 and 6.6 percent from March 2011.

The total business inventories/sales ratio based on seasonally adjusted data at the end of March was 1.27. The March 2011 ratio was 1.26.