STATE OF BUSINESS: High Point

New orders, a key chart to the future course of business, last week broke through to new alltime high ground. The Department of Commerce reported that new orders received in March soared to an adjusted total of $30 billion, up from $29.7 billion in February and $24.8 billion a year ago. Following new orders up, manufacturers' sales hit a post-recession peak of $29.1 billion. The backlog of unfilled orders on which manufacturers will continue to operate comfortably rose another $1 billion to $50.1 billion, highest since December 1957.

Backing up the bulge in factory business was a new surge in...

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