State of Business: Studying the Timetable

When Labor Department Statistician Ewan Clague offhandedly remarked last week that the economy may well spin into a recession next year, he was simply echoing what has become everyday talk in the U.S. business community. Businessmen are well aware that no one has yet repealed the economic cycle. Few seem to question that there will be another recession of some sort, though they disagree over its intensity, and wonder when it will come.

There is no immediate danger, or so the current business indicators say. Though retail sales fell slightly last month, consumer spending remains strong. Housing starts, spurred by an...

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