Tough news....unprecedented? Read on...then check the date at the end!
Not for many years has a Christmas season begun with so many tidings of spreading discomfort and lack of joy about the U.S. economy. Already racked by a devastating double-digit inflation, the nation is now also plunging deeper into a recession that seems sure to be the longest and could be the most severe since World War II. Consumers who a few weeks ago worried mostly about rising prices now fear for their jobs and incomes as well. For many Americans, the Yuletide will be a time of less elaborate meals, infrequent parties, fewer and cheaper presents.
All last week the bad news mounted. The auto industry reeled from a new-model sales rate 35.8% below last November's already somewhat depressed pace. Ford and Chrysler announced massive new layoffs for this month. Automakers now plan to close at least 14 assembly plants and put as many as 230,000 production workers, clerks, accountants and executives out of work before Christmas, and about 20% of General Motors' 500,000 U.S. employees will be idle in January.
But the decline is no longer confined to autos and home building, which is down 33% from early 1973, as it has been for most of this year. In classic fashion, the recession* has begun to work its way through the entire economy. Although demand for home freezers is still high, with housewives stocking up on food to beat rising prices, sales of other major appliances—TV sets, washing machines, dryers, vacuum cleaners—are turning sick, and layoffs are spreading in the plants that make them.
December 9, 1974...read the whole article here: