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AFL-CIO: The umbrella organization for many labor unions in the United States, with AFL standing for American Federation of Labor, and CIO the abbreviation of Congress of Industrial Organizations. The AFL-CIO began as just the AFL in 1886 as a collection of craft unions representing skilled workers. It expanded to include semiskilled and unskilled workers represented by industrial unions. Differing interests among the two groups lead to a division of the original AFL in 1938 into two separate groups -- the AFL containing craft unions and CIO containing industrial unions. This rift was closed in 1955, when the AFL and CIO merged to form the AFL-CIO.

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FREE-TRADE AREA: An agreement among two or more nations to eliminate trade barriers with each other. There is no attempt, however, to adopt a common trade policy with other nations, to allow free movement of resources among the countries, or to adopt common monetary or fiscal policies. This is considered the first of four levels of integration among nations. See common market, customs union, economic union for the other levels.

     See also | foreign trade | trade barrier | monetary policy | fiscal policy | common market | customs union | economic union | trading bloc |


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PRICE INDEX

A measure of the average of a group of prices calculated as a ratio to prices in a given time period (that is, a base year). A price index is primarily used to compare relative prices, or changes in the group prices over time. Such an index is a handy indicator of overall price trends. Two common price indexes that surface in the study of macroeconomics are the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the GDP price deflator. Both are used to indicate the macroeconomy's average price level and to estimate the inflation rate. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (the Dow), Standard & Poor's 500, and the NASDAQ are well-known indexes of stock market prices.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time at a dollar discount store looking to buy either a coffee table shaped like the state of Florida or storage boxes for your summer clothes. Be on the lookout for mail order catalogs with hidden messages.
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Junk bonds are so called because they have a better than 50% chance of default, carrying a Standard & Poor's rating of CC or lower.
"Concentration is the secret of strength in politics, in war, in trade, in short in all management of human affairs. "

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson, philosopher, poet

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