STATE OF BUSINESS: Pangs of Pessimism

"Let's call this an average year — but the best average year we've ever had." With this wry preface, Chairman Roger Blough last week announced that U.S. Steel sales of $1,187,554,615 for the first three months of 1960 had set a first-quarter record, disclosed that Big Steel's output (94.1% of capacity) had set a record for any quarter.

Blough's words were a pointed comment on the gloomy state of mind of many U.S. businessmen, though of course Steel's first quarter reflected pent-up buyer demands after 1959's nearly 17-week-long strike. But for many other companies, business had never been...

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