The National Recovery Administration: An Analysis and Appraisal

By Leverett S. Lyon; Paul T. Homan et al. | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XXXV
THE NRA AND THE DURABLE GOODS INDUSTRIES

Some idea of the potential importance of the durable goods industries in the national production may be indicated by the fact that in the period 1919-29 the flow of finished durable commodities (including construction) averaged 46 per cent of the total flow of all finished commodites, and over a third of the gross output of all commodities and services combined. 1

Though they represent by no means the larger part of the national production even in prosperity, these industries are capable of exerting a disproportionate influence on the fluctuations of business in general by reason of the exceptional variability in their rate of operations. They characteristically decline further from prosperity to depression, and show a greater relative rise in recovery, than do the industries producing non-durable goods and services. Thus in the business recession from 1929 to 1932 the physical flow of durable goods into the hands of consumers declined 53 per cent, as compared with a decline of 14 per cent in the flow of non-durable commodities. 2

The extreme variability in the demand for durable goods is made possible by the fact that additions to the

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1
National Bureau of Economic Research Bulletin 52. Durable goods as herein defined are those having a normal useful life in excess of three years. The figures cited include repair parts for durable goods and some, but not all, of other expenditures for upkeep and maintenance. The ratio of the output of finished durable goods to the output of all finished goods and services combined has been actually worked out only for 1920, when it was about 39 per cent.
2
The same, p. 6.

-817-

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