Business: Automation Speeds Recovery, Boosts Productivity, Pares Jobs

Five economic facts of life stood out in the year 1961:

· SOFT RECOVERY. The mildest of the four U.S. postwar recessions brought an unexpectedly modest recovery. After hitting bottom in February, the economy turned up faster than predicted, only to stall in the summer. An upsurge in the late fall sent personal income to a record. U.S. consumers finally got over their yearlong frugality as retailers did a record Christmas business, and Detroit beamed over fourth-quarter auto sales that may even top the 1955 record of 1,700,000 cars. The year's net: not much...

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