An elder statesman of U.S. industry last week took a look into 1949—and blinked his eyes at the rosy glow. The reason for the glow, thought General Motors' Afired P. Sloan Jr., was the continued high rate of spending for plant expansion and new construction, which now accounts for about 6% of the gross national product. Said he: "As long as that [expansion] continues ... I am sure that the impact on consumer goods and durable goods will give us a high level of national income."

There were other signs that U.S. industry, despite the soft spots in numerous lines,...

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