STEEL: Price Rise

In a 22-story tower on the edge of Manhattan's bustling financial district, top officials of the U.S. Steel Corp. waited one day last week for a final figure to guide them in fixing the twelfth consecutive steel price rise since World War II. As soon as word came of another jump in the cost-of-living index, which meant an automatic wage boost for steelworkers, statisticians swiftly added the change to a mosaic of other figures on increased costs, including the industry-wide wage hike called for in the contract signed last year. Soon after,...

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