INDUSTRY: Defying the Recession

Steel profits, like the bumblebee, seem to be defying gravity. They hit record levels in 1974, and have gone right on rising through the recession-darkened first quarter of this year. While earnings of all manufacturing industries fell an average of 18% from the same quarter last year, the sharpest drop in 14 years, Bethlehem Steel posted a profit gain of 86% and Republic Steel 57%. U.S. Steel earned 54% more from operations than a year earlier; a huge capital gain lifted the total increase to 103%. The surge occurred despite plummeting demand from such major customers as the battered auto...

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