From economic downturn to suicide rates and corruption, Reuters reporter Meg Teckman-Fullard takes a look at countries suffering the most.
Detroit filed bankruptcy, which may force creditors to settle with less than they are owed in order to resolve $18 billion in city debt.
Detroit was once synonymous with U.S. manufacturing prowess. The auto industry switched to making planes, tanks and munitions during World War Two, earning the city the nickname of the “Arsenal of Democracy.”
Now a third of Detroit’s 700,000 residents live in poverty and about a fifth are unemployed.
"Maybe bankruptcy will help. I don’t know," said lifelong Detroiter Damien Collins, 68, outside his east-side house surrounded by abandoned homes. The retired autoworker said he had given up hope anything would bring back Detroit. "Nothing else has worked, so why not try it?" he asked.
The murder rate is the highest in nearly 40 years, only a third of its ambulances were in service in the first quarter of 2013 and nearly 78,000 abandoned buildings create “additional public safety problems,” Michigan’s governor Rick Snyder wrote.
Forty percent of street lights were non-functional in the first three months of this year, while the police took an average of 58 minutes to respond to emergency calls, more than five times the national average. The city government has been plagued by mismanagement and corruption.
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Stocks rose to five-year highs on Friday, with the Dow closing above 14,000 for the first time since October 2007, after jobs and manufacturing data showed the economy’s recovery remains on track.
Based on the latest available data, the Dow Jones industrial average DJIA was up 149.21 points, or 1.08 percent, at 14,009.79. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index SPX was up 15.05 points, or 1.00 percent, at 1,513.16. The Nasdaq Composite Index IXIC was up 36.97 points, or 1.18 percent, at 3,179.10.
READ ON: Dow ends above 14,000 for the first time since October 2007
Britain’s European partners told David Cameron on Wednesday his demand for radical reform of the EU and an “in-out” referendum on UK membership showed a selfish and ignorant attitude.
France went so far as to call Britain’s bluff and say it was free to leave. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he had told a recent meeting with British businessmen: “If Britain wants to leave Europe we will roll out the red carpet for you.”
READ ON: Selfish, ignorant, dangerous: Europe’s verdict on Cameron speech
Wal-Mart Stores Inc will buy an additional $50 billion in U.S.-made goods over the next decade in areas like sporting goods and high-end appliances in what the world’s largest retailer called a bid to help boost the U.S. economy.
Wal-Mart, the largest private employer in the United States, also said on Tuesday it plans to hire 100,000 newly discharged veterans over the next five years, at a time when the U.S. unemployment rate is at 7.8 percent.
READ ON: Wal-Mart plans $50 billion “buy American” push
Walt Disney Co, which reported record earnings in November, started an internal cost cutting review several weeks ago that may include layoffs at its studio and other units, three people with knowledge of the effort told Reuters.
Disney, whose empire spans TV, film, merchandise and theme parks, is exploring cutbacks in jobs no longer needed because of improvements in technology, one of the people said.
It is also looking at redundant operations that could be eliminated after a string of major acquisitions over the past few years, said the person, who did not want to be identified because Disney has not disclosed the internal review.
Executives warned in November that the rising cost of sports rights and moribund home video sales will dampen growth.
"We are constantly looking at eliminating redundancies and creating greater efficiencies, especially with the rapid rise in new technology," said Disney spokeswoman Zenia Mucha.
The pace of hiring by U.S. employers eased slightly in December, pointing to a lackluster pace of economic growth that was unable to make further inroads in the country’s still high unemployment rate.
Payrolls outside the farming sector grew 155,000 last month, the Labor Department said on Friday. That was in line with analysts’ expectations and slightly below the revised gain of 161,000 reported for November.
The report reinforces expectations of 2 percent economic growth this year, unlikely to quickly bring down the unemployment rate or make the U.S. Federal Reserve rethink its easy-money policies anytime soon despite growing unease by some policymakers over a bond-buying program.
"The U.S. economy is just muddling through," said Tom di Galoma, managing director at Navigate Advisors in Stamford, Connecticut.
The jobless rate held steady at 7.8 percent in December, down nearly a percentage point from a year earlier but still well above the average rate over the last 60 years of about 6 percent.