Though the nation's steelmakers worked overtime and on Thanksgiving Day to meet the pressure of delivery schedules, the steel shortage worsened last week.
Pittsburgh blast furnaces poured ingots at nearly 104% of rated capacity and Buffalo mills pushed production of steel to almost 105% of capacity. But U.S.
highway builders, automakers and appliance manufacturers begged for still more.
With the magazine Iron Age predicting that customers "can look forward to nothing but woe" until well into 1956, a grey market was already starting.
The surge of consumer buying that pushed the demand for the nation's goods and services to alltime records had stepped up production and expansion plans all down the line. Items: ¶ The U.S. oil industry will spend more than $350 million over the next ten months for new refineries to meet the demand for oil and gas, thus boost refining capacity 335,000 bbls., to 8,582,800 bbls daily.
¶ With traffic and profits rolling ahead, railroads highballed toward their best year since the Korean war. Because of a 5-for-i stock split, Union Pacific jumped 16 points to close the week at 202. On the rumor of a split Santa Fe jumped 11 points in one day, to a record high of 160.
The wave of good news pushed Southern Railway and Delaware and Hudson to new highs for the year. At week's end, the Dow-Jones railroad index rose to 167.83, highest point since 1929.
Machine-tool orders totaled $103 million last month, biggest batch of orders for any month in more than three years.
C.I.T. Financial Corp.'s President Arthur O. Dietz predicted that the growing U.S. population and the move to the suburbs will spark demands for more construction, more autos, more appliances. Said he: The current record level is no plateau, but a step in a long rise that will continue through the '60s.