Oil, steel bring US plants up to 69.4% of capacity

Widespread improvements in the oil and steel industries helped the nation's factories use 69.4 percent of capacity in March, Federal Reserve Board economists said. It was the busiest pace in eight months.

Despite the past five months of improvement, one gauge of how weak the nation's industrial economy remains is the fact that the latest 0.7 point increase would have to be repeated 26 additional months to reach the 1973 level of 88 percent, the previous high.

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