State of Business: Shape of the Recovery

Now that everyone seemed to be taking for granted that the recession has reached its low point. Government economists began nervously eying the quality of the recovery. Aside from a quickening of business confidence, they had a few definite signs to go by—a slight increase in steel orders, department store sales up 5% in Easter week, auto sales for March up 15%. Of the twelve leading indexes, e.g., raw-material prices, that the National Bureau of Economic Research uses to measure the business cycle, nine have already turned upward. Said Walter Heller, chief of the President's Council of Eco nomic...

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