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Once the current recession "bottoms out," the recovery may be quick, compared to the climb back from past slumps. One key is inventories, or unsold goods on warehouse shelves.In past recessions, businessmen were stuck with large inventories that they had to work down before ordering new goods from suppliers.

This time around, everyone is cautious, and inventory levels generally are lean. So activity could pick up more smartly than usual when businessmen find the time is ripe to restock their shelves.m

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