The Economy: The Spiral Cloud

The statistical signs and symbols of a serious inflationary spiral continue to mount. Industrial production figures for January indicate that U.S. plants are operating at near-capacity—meaning that soon they may not be able to produce enough goods to meet demand. In steel, the time lag between orders and delivery is still lengthening, and some mills are beginning to allocate output even among steady customers. According to the Commerce Department, manufacturing inventories went up sharply in December, the latest month on which figures have been compiled; this would presumably mean that businessmen are stockpiling against the threat of inflation. And reflecting...

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