Changes in the Volume and Character of Production in the United States, 1922-1929
A PERIOD of sustained prosperity opened in the United States after the major recession of 1920-21. This prosperity was interrupted by a recession of some magnitude in 1924, and by a relatively slight fall in 1927. The recovery from each of these checks was rapid. Not until the year 1929 was well on its way was there recorded a general and widespread decline in the volume and intensity of operations in the financial and industrial structure of the country at large. The period of post-war expansion, extending from 1922 to 1929, constitutes a relatively homogeneous era which is of particular economic interest. Certain of the tendencies and conditions characteristic of this era are to be reviewed in the present and following chapters.
In Chapter I, which deals with production tendencies during the years preceding the war, reference has been made to certain problems of general interest in following the trend of production in a given country. The rate of increase in the physical volume of production, the regularity of flow of the stream of production, the relative changes occurring in extractive and fabricating industries, in agricultural and non-agricultural industries, in industries producing consumption goods and in those producing articles of capital equipment -- all these concern us in tracing the course of events during the period leading up to the 1929 recession. For it was an era unique in many ways, marked by conditions widely different from those prevailing during the period immediately preceding, and in certain important respects unlike those characteristic of the years before the war. Points of similarity and of difference between the pre-war and post-war periods will be emphasized as the discussion proceeds.