Shipyard workers wait for President Obama to speak about looming automatic federal budget cuts Tuesday in Newport News, Va. Charles Dharapak/AP hide caption

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A US Airways plane rests near two American Airlines jets at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport last year. The combined carrier would be named American Airlines. Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Wendy Brown of Schenectady, N.Y., holds a sign before an Occupy Albany rally pushing for a raise in New York's minimum wage on May 29, 2012. Mike Groll/AP hide caption

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Raul Rivero fills up in Miami. Having less take-home pay at the same time gas prices are rising could dampen consumer spending, economists say. Joe Raedle/Getty Images hide caption

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A new home under construction in Pepper Pike, Ohio. This spring's jobs data could look much brighter if housing heats up. Tony Dejak/AP hide caption

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Jan. 2. Financial market participants will be keeping a close eye on upcoming deadlines affecting the U.S. debt ceiling, scheduled automatic budget cuts and federal funding. AFP/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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The alternative minimum tax created a "useful fiction," as one analyst says, by appearing to shrink budget deficits. Tim Boyle/Getty Images hide caption

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Farmer Randy Dreher unloads corn from his combine during harvest north of Audubon, Iowa. Farm exports are booming and high global prices are helping growers despite the U.S. drought. Gary Fandel/Iowa Farm Bureau/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Gary Fandel/Iowa Farm Bureau/AP

Construction workers build a home in Palo Alto, Calif. A real turnaround seemed to take hold in the housing sector in 2012 after years of fits and starts. Paul Sakuma/AP hide caption

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Judy Smith, of Dalton, Ga., looks over paperwork as she files for unemployment benefits in August after being laid off from a catering job. More than 2 million people who get extended benefits may lose them if Congress doesn't act soon. David Goldman/AP hide caption

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