STATE OF BUSINESS: Deciding Factor

The U.S. economy, which had not seemed sure of where it was going, last week showed signs of making up its mind. The deciding factor was the U.S. consumer, who has not shared the gloom that enshrouds many businessmen. Said the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its business review: "Consumer purchasing, in particular, brought a breath of springtime to businessmen."

Detroit got the strongest sniff (see below). U.S. department store-sales, after one of the best Easter seasons on record, were up 10% over last year's in the last week of April, helping to push seasonally adjusted sales for the...

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