The Big Freeze

THE ECONOMY The Big Freeze

The thermometer of U.S. industrial production dropped rapidly last week in the big freeze of the coal strike. Barron's weekly business index skidded from 182.8 (1936-39 average: 100) to 175.3. Although it reflected only the first four days of the strike, the drop was almost two points a day.

The slump was bigger and more rapid than in last spring's strike because 1) industrial production was so high and stockpiles of components (i.e. parts) so low; and 2) the high production was burning up stockpiles of coal much faster.

Down Steel. First to show signs of industrial starvation...

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