The economy of theUnited States after 1952 was the economy of a well-fed, almost fully employedpeople. Despite occasional alarms, the country escaped any postwar depressionand lived in a state of boom. An economic survey of the year 1955, a typicalyear of the 1950’s, may be typical as illustrating the rapid economic growth ofthe decade.
The national output was value at 10 percent above that of 1954(1955 output was estimated at 392 billion dollars). The production ofmanufacturers was about 40 percent more than it had averaged in the yearsimmediately following World War 2. The country’s business spent about 30 billiondollars for new factories and machinery. National income available for spendingwas almost a third greater than it had been it had been in 1950. Consumersspent about 256 billion dollars; that is about 700 million dollars a day orabout twenty-five million dollars every hour, all round the clock. Sixty-fivemillion people held jobs and only a little more than two million wanted jobsbut could not find them.
Only agriculture complained that it was not sharing inthe room. To some observers this was an ominous echo of the mid-1920’s. Asfarmer’s shred of their products declined, marketing costs rose. But there were,among the observers of the national economy, a few who were not as confident asthe majority. Those few seemed to fear that the boom could not last and wouldeventually lead to the opposite-depression.