This post is part of the Bonddad Economic History Project. For more information, please see the right side of the blog
In 1955, the US was an island in the world. Countries that would eventually become our international competitors were still rebuilding from WWII. As such, the explosion in consumer demand was satiated by goods produced domestically. Consider the following table of consumer goods:
The top chart shows that overall IP was at record levels in 1955. The second chart shows that total mineral production was the first sector to hit multi-year highs. But by the end of the year, durable, non-durable and total manufacturers production had reached multi-year levels.
The above table puts the charts into numerical perspective, as does the following excerpts from the Federal Reserves Annual Report and the Economic Report to the President, 1956.