For its annual reading of the U.S. economy, the National Industrial Conference Board last week assembled business leaders at "Manhattan's Hotel Commodore. Their theme: "Recovery: how strong, how long?" Their conclusion: recovery should continue well into 1959. Even as they met, there were indications that while some parts of the economy have stopped to catch their breath, others continued to spring along in a sort of relay race:

¶ Earnings after taxes of the average factory worker with three dependents reached an alltime high of $79.60 per week in December, reported the Labor Department.

¶ Department-store sales across the nation climbed 5%...

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