The Year in Six Words Normal, Jobs, Stuck, Currency, Spills and Gaga say all that needs to be said about 2010
The New Normal? The subject was the economy. The setting was Obama’s Sept. 20 town-hall meeting in Washington, D.C. The comment, by Velma Hart of Upper Marlboro, Md., started amicably
and ended with a plea.
Said Hart: “Quite frankly, I’m exhausted. Exhausted of defending you, defending your Administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are right now. And quite frankly, Mr. President, I need you to answer honestly,
is this my new reality?” Hart, who was the CFO of veterans group Amvets, lost her job in November, around the same time Obama lost Congress.
Normal, Ill. Mitsubishi Motors has made cars in Normal, Ill., since 1985. In 2000, its best year, the plant produced 222,000 vehicles. In 2004 the plant cut back to a single daily shift and slashed about 1,000 jobs. Things worsened in 2009, the year that General Motors and Chrysler were temporarily nationalized. Normal produced just 8 percent of its 2000 output, while U.S. capacity utilization fell to a post-Depression low of just 68 percent. Things are somewhat better for Normal, and the nation, in 2010. Normal Mayor Koos says he’s hoping Mitsubishi headquarters in Japan will pick the city to produce a new model. “That won’t create more jobs,” Koos says, “but it will stabilize them.”
Job Seekers Job hunters line up to meet potential employers on Mar. 10 in New York City, where the unemployment rate is 9.2 percent. Across the country, a fair held on Oct. 7 at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills, Calif. was expected to draw 3,000.
Jobs by the Numbers 9.8% Percentage of the American workforce that's unemployed
9.3% Percentage of the American workforce that's employed in manufacturing
Spills: What Oil? Protected by hay bales, Alabamans defy the gunk.
Business and individual claims paid to date: 164,000
BP's total spending so far on cleanup: $40 billion
Ireland: Stuck Underwater Waterways, a development in Ireland's County Leitrim, remains a ghost estate. The developer's plan called for more than 60 homes.
Housing prices in Ireland have declined 36% since the market's peak in 2006. More than 300,000 units remain empty.
Stuck...In the Middle 48% Portion of travelers who say airport pat-downs are justified
50% Portion of travelers who say pat-downs go too far
Stuck...Far from Home Russian traveler Daisia Garvilova sleeps on a baggage conveyor belt in New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Apr. 20.
She had been stranded since Apr. 15.
100,000 Number of flights canceled over seven days in mid-April as a result of the volcano Eyjafjallajökull
Gold Currency A black-market gold rush in Mozambique has tens of thousands of wildcat miners—many of them children—braving malaria, mercury-laced waters, and violence for meager payouts.
$35 Price per ounce of gold in 1971, when U.S. abandoned the gold standard
$250 Price per ounce of gold wildcat miners are paid in Mozambique
$1,384 Price per ounce of gold on Dec. 12, 2010—up 23 percent in one year
8,133 metric tons of gold in U.S. official reserves
Currency in Circulation Since August 2008, the monetary base has exploded from $875 billion to $1,996,054,000,000.
The portion of the base consisting of cash in our pockets grew more slowly, from $777 billion to $917,200,000,000 billion
Lady Gaga Lady Gaga wore a meat dress—made mostly from flank steak—to the MTV Video Music Awards on Sept. 12. Ninety pounds of beef are consumed by the average American each year.
Sports Gaga 700 Million Worldwide viewers of the final World Cup match between Spain and The Netherlands
106 Million Viewers of the 2010 Super Bowl between the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts
9.95 Million Viewers of LeBron James’ announcement of his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat
World Cup Gaga Soccer fans spent about $500 million while in South Africa for the World Cup
Justin Bieber Justin Bieber earns at least $300,000 per concert
89 Rank on Amazon.com of the 16-year-old’s just-published memoir, Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever
3% Amount of Twitter’s server infrastructure said to be dedicated to Bieber-related tweets
400,000 Circulation of J-14, a celebrity magazine for tween girls