THE RECOVERY: Slower, But on Track

In a textbook recovery, it is usually the valiant consumer, checkbook and shopping bags in hand, who spends the way back to economic health, with industry dutifully tagging along behind. So it has been with the present post-recession recovery, at least until recently. In July, according to the Commerce Department, retail sales fell 1.2%, continuing a softening that began to appear in April. Industrial production rose by a scant .2% last month, the smallest increase in nine months. At the same time, the Consumer Price Index, the nation's principal barometer of inflation, rose .5% in July, which translates into...

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