A vendor sells seafood at a market in East Broadway in New York City's Chinatown. There was a 17 percent drop in the population of New York City's Chinatown over the past decade, and some say it's a sign that Chinatown is becoming more of a symbolic touchstone. Rebecca Sheir/NPR hide caption

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Hesham Abdul Ghani and his wife, Oras Touma, came to Michigan to escape religious persecution. Jacki Lyden/NPR hide caption

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Midwestern manufacturers are bouncing back — revenues are up at Chicago White Metal Casting for the second year in a row. And the company is hiring, but mainly specialists, such as die-cast machinists and the people with the skills to fix those machines. Niala Boodhoo/WBEZ hide caption

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A long, hot drought decimated the peanut crop this year, pushing the price of peanut butter up by more than a third. Ric Feld/AP hide caption

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Randy Howland works in his small office in March, shortly after he began a work-from-home job with a call center earning $10 an hour. Tamara Keith/NPR hide caption

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A trader walks in New York City's financial district on Sept. 12, a day when stocks fell early based on fears that the Greek government would default, then rallied on news that China might buy Italian debt. This year, what sent the market into a tailspin often took place overseas. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

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The housing market collapse has taken a toll on Florida families and may affect how they vote in the presidential election. Joe Raedle/Getty Images hide caption

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Louise Tucker-Mitchell laughs on the phone with a customer at Enterprise Rent-A-Car at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. She says she likes working the week between Christmas and New Year's, as it's calmer and a good time to catch up. Sara Carothers/NPR hide caption

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Workers in Boeing's new $750 million final assembly plant in North Charleston, S.C. At the plant's ribbon-cutting ceremony in June, Rep. James Clyburn called the newly constructed facility a game changer for the state's workforce. Bruce Smith/AP hide caption

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Distillation towers, tanks and other equipment at Sunoco's sprawling refinery on the banks of the Schuylkill River on Aug. 3, 2009. Sunoco is selling off two refineries and, in September, announced it would get out of the refining business. Richard Richtmyer/AP hide caption

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