State of Business: Rolling Along

The hopeful signs in the U.S. economy were more than just the usual spring tonic. Steel production hit 63% of capacity, with output for the month estimated at 7,500,000 tons—the highest figure in eleven months. A spring surge boosted mid-April auto sales 8.9% over mid-March as Ford and General Motors re called laid-off workers. Last week's production of 115,306 cars was down 7.4% over the preceding week, but still was the second-healthiest week the carmakers have had this year.

New orders for machine tools registered a sharp 49.9% rise in March over February's figure of $46 million. The increase underscored...

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