State of Business: Upstuck

As the U.S. economy headed into the post-Labor Day period, there was a freshly expectant mood among U.S. businessmen. Factories were revving up across the nation, Detroit was spewing out new cars, and demand for everything from appliances to used cars was on the rise. With new optimism, the First National Bank of Boston reported: "Our economy seems sounder than a month ago."

Early this summer, after Wall Street's long slide clipped $77 billion off the value of U.S. stocks, many people presumed that a recession loomed dead ahead, and more than a few whispered Depression. Now that no such...

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