Business: Reverse Course

The U.S. economy is speeding up —in the wrong direction. During the third quarter, production dropped faster and prices rose more rapidly than in the second quarter, according to a Commerce Department report last week.

From July through September, real output of goods and services fell at an annual rate of 2.9%. That was the third quarterly decline in a row —the longest downhill run since the recession of 1960-61—and the drop was almost twice as steep as in the April-June period. Some reasons: the deepening depression in housing, the impact of high costs for imported oil and a sudden downturn in...

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