Stocks ended up around close to where they started the year. Markets were mostly unfazed by the U.S. debt downgrade. But big changes in the European economy and governments in the Middle East made for a tumultuous year, when what sent the market into a tailspin often took place overseas.
For the long-term unemployed, getting a job isn't always the end of the story. In the next installment of NPR's Road Back to Work series, we check in with Randy Howland and Jennifer Barfield who both find themselves searching for work once again.
David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal, talks to Steve Inskeep about the bumpy year the stock market had in 2011. And they discuss what the new year might have in store for investors.
It's once again poised to play an important role in the presidential election, but Florida is a very different state than it was four years ago. Reeling from the housing collapse and high unemployment, voters are feeling the pinch and are angry at what's happening in Washington.
Around half of workers said they'd be in the office during the week between Christmas and New Year's. For those who come in, it's a great time to tidy up or catch up with coworkers. And the paycheck isn't bad: "[You] need a wheelbarrow to take it to the bank," says one holiday worker.
South Carolina's Republican governor paints an optimistic picture of the state's economy. But with a higher-than-average unemployment rate, voters are focused on economic issues when it comes to the 2012 presidential election.
For the first time since Harry Truman was president, the country is exporting more petroleum products than it imports. Domestic demand for diesel and gasoline is down while production is up. That's made it difficult for some refineries to stay in business.
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