The Autumn Garden dramaturgy: 1949 commerce

Table of Contents

Commerce

A communist-bloc Council for Mutual Economic Assistance created January 18 at Moscow tries to develop economic cooperation between the Soviet Union and her satellites. Poland joins a week later.

Congress creates the General Services Administration (GSA) to serve as an independent federal agency with responsibilities for managing government property and records economically and efficiently. The GSA will construct and operate buildings, distribute supplies, stockpile critical materials, and dispose of government surpluses.

United Automobile Workers (UAW) at General Motors plants accept a slight wage cut as a business recession produces a decline in the cost of living.

U.S. unemployment reaches 5.9 percent, up from 3.8 percent last year, and Wall Street’s Dow Jones Industrial Average falls to 161 at midyear, down from 193 a year earlier, but while most consumer prices drop, housing and healthcare costs increase.

A Foreign Assistance bill enacted by Congress April 19 authorizes additional U.S. aid amounting to $5.43 billion for the European Recovery Program.

The U.S. Export-Import Bank extends a $20 million loan to Yugoslavia September 8 to help the Tito government resist Soviet domination.

U.S. coal workers strike September 19, President Truman invokes the Taft-Hartley Act September 30, the miners refuse to obey the injunction, and 20 UMW leaders are cited for contempt. They win acquittal and the strike is settled.

A new minimum wage act signed into law by President Truman October 26 amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, raising the minimum hourly wage from 40¢ to 75¢ for certain industries engaged in interstate commerce.

U.S. steelworkers return to work November 11 after a 42-day strike. The 500,000 workers win company-paid pensions but no wage boosts.

Wall Street’s Dow Jones Industrial Average closes December 31 at 200.13, up from 177.30 at the end of the 1948 and its first close above 200 in 10 years.

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