STATE OF BUSINESS: The Big Summer

Tradition has it that when hot weather spreads across the land, U.S. business slides into a slump. But in prosperous 1955, with Americans earning bigger wages, going more places, buying more goods, spending more money than ever before, the season's usual slump never came. As U.S. businessmen quickened their pace last week for September's bracing upturn, all signs pointed to the best autumn ever.

Summer wages had never been better.

July take-home pay for a factory worker with three dependents averaged $69.84 a week, up almost 6% from last year; for the seventh month in a row U.S. factories hired more...

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