PROFITS: A Mixed Springtime

Not only housing starts, but some other key indicators last week showed that the economy is surging into spring with the vigor of a baseball rookie. Despite the bitter winter, total U.S. output of goods and services rose 5.2% during the first three months of the year, up smartly from the 2.6% rate in the last quarter of 1976. Inflation slowed; consumer prices in March rose at an annual rate of 7.4%, v. 12.7% in February and 10% in January. March industrial production took its biggest jump in 19 months—1.4%—and personal income scored its largest increase in almost two...

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