Marilyn GeewaxMarilyn Geewax is a senior business news editor, assigning and editing stories for radio. She also writes and edits for the NPR web site, and regularly discusses economic issues on NPR's mid-day show Here & Now.
A trader watches a figure showing the fall of the euro in Paris on Friday. The euro fell to a 17-month low against the dollar on news reports that France's credit rating was downgraded by Standard & Poor's.
Remy de la Mauviniere/AP
A construction worker walks on the roof of a newly built home in Westport, Conn. The construction sector, which has been battered by the depressed housing sector, added 17,000 jobs in December.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses journalists at EU headquarters in Brussels in December. It's possible that European leaders will come up with ways to manage the region's debt crisis in the new year, but the worst case scenarios are dire.
John Thys/AFP/Getty Images
Shoppers look at a display at the Dadeland Mall in Miami on Nov. 25. Princeton professor Sheldon Garon says Americans spend too much and save too little compared to Europeans and Asians.