In some sections of the U.S. last week, the rumble of recession grew. But in most the sounds were still faint and far away. Largely because of seasonal layoffs, unemployment jumped to 1,830,000 during the month of December, leading Government experts to forecast a total of 2,000,000 jobless by the end of January.

Autoworkers were hit hard, as carmakers began laying off men and cutting back production. Studebaker planned to drop 3,000 workers; Hudson laid off 4,500 men and shut down completely for seven days. The big surprise was Chrysler, which laid off 7,650 men and cut back to one...

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