STATE OF BUSINESS: Firing Up

Blast furnaces glowed and roared in the steel centers of Pittsburgh, Youngstown and Chicago last week as the steel industry jacked its operating rate to 88.2%, the eighth consecutive weekly boost. According to this key barometer of the economy, the outlook has seldom been better. Last week's scheduled output of 2,129,000 tons was the best in two years, within striking distance of the alltime high of 2,324,000 set the week of March 23. 1953. With order backlogs soaring, the trade magazine Iron Age said: "If the rate of incoming business holds, raw steel output may reach 94% to 95%...

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