The American economy is just now recovering from its most difficult period since the Great Depression. In the eight years following the 1973 oil embargo by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the average annual rate of growth in industrial production fell by nearly sixty percent, while the rate of growth in labor productivity fell by approximately seventy percent relative to the average rates of the preceding twenty five years. By 1980 the annual rate of inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, had reached 13.5 percent, the highest rate since 1947 and more than twice the rate in 1970; and by 1982 the rate of unemployment had reached 9.7 percent, the highest rate since 1941 and nearly double the rate in 1970. In the six years following the OPEC embargo the nation's view of its economic future changed from one of seemingly boundless optimism to one of great concern. The new mood was perhaps best captured by President Carter in his famous 1979 speech on "malaise" in America.

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