Turning Points in Business Cycles

By Leonard P. Ayres | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
CAPITAL ISSUES AND BUSINESS ACTIVITY

A FAIRLY close comparison can be made between monthly changes over the past 40 years in the flow of the dollar value of new financing and the changes in the volume of industrial production. A still more helpful comparison can be made between the changes in the volume of security issues and those in the pay rolls of factory workers producing durable goods. This comparison is of special importance because the great and serious fluctuations which the business cycle produces in our industrial activities are those in the employment and pay of the factory workers normally engaged in the production of durable goods.

The index of the physical volume of industrial production compiled by the Federal Reserve System gives monthly figures for the outputs of durable goods and nondurable goods back to the beginning of 1919. Moreover the Thomas index of the Federal Reserve System gives annual data of factory production back to 1899. This index has been recomputed so as to give monthly data for the production of durable goods and nondurable goods back to the beginning of 1899. The resulting series are based on the data, the weightings, and the methods used by the Census and the Federal Reserve System in the construction of their indexes of production. It is believed that the totals for each year are relatively reliable throughout, but due to the inadequacy of data the monthly figures prior to 1910 are no better than good approximations.

A close estimate of the annual totals of wages and salaries paid by manufacturing establishments from 1899 through 1937 is found in Table 25 of a volume by Robert F. Martin published in 1939 by the National Industrial Conference Board and entitled, "National Income in the United States, 1799-1938." There have been 14

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