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The 98 per centum
Someone has remarked that 98 per cent. of men of
724 OLD SOUTH BUILDING, BOSTON, Mass.
BUSINESS SITUATION IN THE UNITED STATES TODAY
FACTS AND FORCES BEARING UPON THE FUTURE
C. L. BRADLEY
WIXT hay and grass"—this rustic
metaphor just about describes the
condition of general business at the moment this article goes to press. All summer there has been evident a tendency to delay progressive operations until the outcome of the two major strikes.
Strikes such as those through which the country has just been passing never accomplish any economic good, but inevitably bring losses and often serious consequences to everyone directly or indirectly connected with them. After all, WORK is the panacea for most of the world's ailments today, and in the words of Van Dyke, "Heaven may be blest with perfect rest, but the blessing of earth is toil."
It is to be hoped, therefore, that both employee and employer will soon recognize the eternal fact that no real good is ever accomplished through idleness or destruction of property, and that there will be a unified effort through diligent and honest production on the one hand and fairness and honesty on the other to recover those economic blessings which benefit all alike and which can be secured in absolutely no other way.
that there might be a steady business revival based upon a complete and thorough liquidation, which has not yet taken place, and if such a business boom should now result it would seem advisable to move with some caution, lest a boom based upon such un-economic foundations should meet with its inevitable collapse some months bence. On the other hand, it seems to be more and more evident that the tendency over the next several years is going to be forward, with an ultimate return to that condition of normality where the products of labor of similar character may be exchanged for each other on an even basis, which is not now the case.
For the immediate future it seems reasonable to expect marked activity as the Fall advances, and the railroads are likely to have all the traffic they can possibly handle. Already substantial decreases in the number of idle cars on the railroads of the country are being reported, while the resumption of equipment-buying on the part of the railroads, which is likely to follow normal operating conditions, is bound to be reflected in increased industrial activity all along the line.
In the meantime, money continues easy and interest rates are low, and there is no indication that this condition will be materially changed through the months immediately ahead of us. There is also a large amount of capital seeking investment, and the opinion of the investing public, as reflected in activity and prices on the Stock Exchange, can be interpreted only as one of assurance as to the business future. The stock market is pointing as clearly as it can to continued business prosperity, which should be accelerated with the removal of the retarding influences which have obtained during the summer months, as discussed above.
The Business Revival The general assurance that such will ultimately be the case has been the chief reason for the absence of alarm as to the permanency of the business revival which has been under way for the past year.
The steady decline in wholesale prices seems to have been arrested for the time being at least, and the tendency in many commodities is toward higher levels. This has been particularly true in the steel industry, as a result of the shutting down of some of the blast furnaces and the shortage of finished products.
And the Danger In this situation, therefore, there is an inherent danger that a business boom may be inaugurated where it would be far better
The Condition of Public Utilities In reviewing various classes of industry, one finds most marked improvement in the conditions surrounding public utility com
panies. This is true not only of their earn marketing of this year's crops is going to maing power, but also as to the attitude of the terially better agricultural conditions through investing public toward their securities, the liquidation of farmers' loans, it is not which have returned to marked favor—with going to result in bringing the farmer up to investors seeking employment for their funds his normal purchasing power until there has in conservative channels. Of course, the im been a' further liquidation in the cost of proprovement of these public utility companies, duction and the sale price of the things which serve particularly our larger business which he has to buy. The farmer normally centers, is a direct reflex of improved busi represents anywhere from 30 per cent to ness conditions generally.
40 per cent of the buying power of the enMore electricity is being consumed for
tire country. On the other hand, there is both power and lighting. More gas is being
no doubt that the marketing of this year's burned, and there are more users of the splendid crops is going to be a real incentelephone. The street and interurban rail
tive to further business revival. way companies, which suffered most both in
The Coal Situation earnings and in public esteem during the
The outstanding points in the coal situalate depression, are benefiting through de
tion seem to be an almost certain shortage of creased operating costs as well as through
anthracite coal during the coming winter expansion of their service.
and a possible bituminous shortage, which The Tendency in Street Car Fares can be averted only by the working of pracIn this connection, it is interesting to note
tically all mines at their maximum capacity a report just issued by the American Elec
for several months to come, and the fairly tric Railway Association covering 275 cities
perfect record of distribution on the part in the United States with respect to the rate
of the railroads. of fare being charged on city street car lines. The average for these 275 cities is 7.37 cents. One hundred and forty cities are charging 10 cents and 28 cities are charging 5 cents, while the remainder charge various amounts from 5 cents to 9 cents, with a transfer extra.
The Farm and Its Problem Much has been said of the splendid crop prospects and the resultant increased buying power of the farmers when these crops are harvested and brought to market. It is well to point out, however, what I have indicated above, that the purchasing power of farm labor and of farm products is not yet on a par with the purchasing power of other classes of labor of similar character. The Department of Agriculture issued during the month of July figures with respect to the five leading crops, namely, corn, cotton, wheat, oats and barley, indicating a total expectancy for this year of $4,654,000,000. This is over 24 per cent. above the 1913 expectancy at the same time of year, and nearly 13 per cent. above the expectancy at this time last year, but when one takes into account the purchasing power of the farmer's GROUP OF CALIFORNIA BANKERS AT A. B. A. dollar one finds that he is realizing only a
CONVENTION IN NEW YORK little over 81 per cent. of what he got in Left to right: P. E. Hatch, Vice-President, Security Trust 1913, and less than 10 per cent. more than
Savings Bank, Long Beach;
J. H. Coverley, Vice-President,
Title Insurance and Trust Co., Los Angeles; L. H. Rosewhat he would have received in 1921.
berry, Vice-President, Security Trust and Savings Bank, It is apparent, therefore, that while the
Los Angeles; F. M. Douglass, President Imperial Cotton
Mills Co., Los Angeles
HOMES OF LEADING TRUST COMPANIES OF NEW YORK CITY (1) The Farmers' Loan & Trust Company, of New York; (2) Guaranty Trust Company; (3) Equity. able Trust Company; (4) Equitable Building, where Metropolitan Trust Company and Empire Trust Company are located; 5) United States Trust Company; (6) Fidelity International Trust Company; (7) Lawyers' Title & Trust Company; (8) Manufacturers Trust Company's branch office on lower
Broadway; (10) Title Guarantee & Trust Company
THE FARMERS' LOAN AND TRUST COMPANY
Nos. 16, 18, 20, and 22 William Street, New York
BRANCH:—475 Fifth Avenue, at 41st Street
PARIS 15 Cockspur Street S.W. I.
41 Boulevard Haussmann 26 Old Broad Street, E. C. 2. The Company is a legal depository for moneys paid into court, and is authorized to act as Executor, Administrator, Trustee, Guardian, Receiver, and in all other fiduciary capacities. Acts as Trustee under Mortgages made by Railroad and other Corporations, and as Transfer Agent and Receives deposit upon Certificates of Deposit, or subject to check and allows interest on daily balances. Manages Real Estate and lends money on Bond and Mortgage. Will act as Agent in the transaction of any approved financial business. United States depository in London and Paris. Depository for Legal Reserves of State Banks and also for moneys of the City of New York.
DIRECTORS Charles A. Peabody James H. Perkins
Percy R. Pyne, 2nd Robert L. Gerry Augustus V. Heely Ogden Mills
JAMES H. PERKINS, President
Francis W. Myers, Asst. Sec. William A. Duncan, Vice-Pres. Edward J. Boyd, Asst. Sec. Thomas M. Godwin, Asst. Sec. Horace F. Howland, Vice-Pres. Irving H. Meehan, Asst. Sec. Thomas A. Finn, Mgr. Credit Dept.
Member of Federal Reserve System and New York Clearing House
The history of this Company has run parallel
THE PENNSYLVANIA COMPANY
For Insurances on Lives and Granting Annuities TRUST AND SAFE DÈPOSIT COMPANY BROAD STREET OFFICE CHARTERED
517 Chestnut Street Chestnut and Juniper Streets
1 8 1 2 Philadelphia