STATE OF BUSINESS: Signs on the Road

The U.S. economy picked up some speed last week, but there were still rough spots on the road to recovery, and enough danger signs in rising prices to warn that excessive speed could mean renewed inflation. Items:

¶ Construction contract awards for June reached $3.8 billion, the highest ever reported for a single month and 18.5% above last June. Biggest gains were in residential housing (up 20% from last June) and heavy engineering contracts, which rose 64%, largely on the strength of Government stimulation of road building and public works programs.

¶ Manufacturers' new orders in June rose to $25.3...

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