A builder works on the construction of new homes in Belmar, N.J. Increased hiring and a boost in consumer confidence are expected to lift the housing market this year. Mel Evans/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Mel Evans/AP

Target shoppers Kelly Foley (from left), Debbie Winslow and Ann Rich use a smartphone to look at a competitor's prices while shopping shortly after midnight on Black Friday, in South Portland, Maine. Robert F. Bukaty/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Robert F. Bukaty/AP

James Franco (left) and Seth Rogen, stars of The Interview, arrive for the film's Los Angeles premiere on Dec. 11. The comedy about a CIA plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was pulled from theaters after a cyberattack on Sony Pictures, the studio behind the film. The FBI said the attack was traced to the North Korean government. Jim Ruymen/UPI/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Jim Ruymen/UPI/Landov

The Capitol's dome and Christmas tree are illuminated on Dec. 11 as Congress worked to pass a $1.1 trillion U.S. government-wide spending bill and avoid a government shutdown. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

itoggle caption J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Protesters of varied stripes and political affiliations gathered outside the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative where negotiators from 12 nations were meeting to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership. James Clark/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption James Clark/NPR

A construction worker clears wood from a platform that spans the Penn Station railroad tracks in New York City on Nov. 18. Construction jobs rose by 20,000 according to the November jobs report. Mark Lennihan/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Mark Lennihan/AP

A Malaysian flag sits on a table among other flags during a news conference at the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement talks in July 2012 in San Diego. Nearly two and a half years later, the deal remains incomplete. Gregory Bull/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Gregory Bull/AP

A plane takes off over a departure board at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta last November. Airlines say they expect an uptick in Thanksgiving travel this year. David Goldman/AP hide caption

itoggle caption David Goldman/AP