Business: Rebuilding Down East

New England was once the cradle of U.S. industry, but in recent years it seemed on its way to becoming an economic graveyard. Burdened by the U.S.'s highest energy costs, dying markets and sky-high taxes, a steady stream of shoe, textile and lumber companies closed their doors or headed to more hospitable climes in the Southeast and West. New England first suffered the symptoms of economic decay, depression and disillusionment that have now become so common in American business.

Today, however, the six Northeastern states are riding out the recession with unaccustomed ease. Unemployment...

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