The Phases of the Industrial Cycle (pt. 2)

How recessions end

During recessions, inventories—commodity capital—are run down as production declines faster than sales. At some point, therefore, industrial production will begin to rise, because the industrial capitalists have to rebuild their inventories. This is why all recessions eventually end.

The recovery begins first in Department II—the department that produces the means of personal consumption. The contraction in industrial employment more or less comes to a halt once rising industrial production caused by the need to rebuild inventories begins.

However, industrial employment rises very little during the first phase of the upturn. Many factories during the recession were forced to operate at levels far below their optimum level of productivity. As inventory rebuilding proceeds, more factories come closer to their optimum utilization levels. The resulting surge in productivity enables the bosses to increase production considerably while adding few, if any, workers. Therefore, for a considerable period of time after the recession proper ends, labor market conditions continue to favor the industrial capitalists over the workers. This remains true after the rise in the rate of unemployment begins to taper off.

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