Billings, Mont., has a diverse economic base, as evidenced by the confluence of stockyards, oil refineries and natural beauty. The unemployment rate for Billings' Yellowstone County was 5.3 percent in September, far lower than the national average.
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Billings Library Foundation Board President Evelyn Noennig (left) and Suzanne McKiernan arrive at a bar carrying signs to support an initiative for a library bond, as patrons gathered to watch election results.
Credit Casey Page / The Billings Gazette
The lobby of the Billings Clinic has an abundance of natural light, and even a piano player, to create a calming, healing ambiance. The center is a top-class health-care facility for cancer treatment.
In Billings, Mont., the land of the "Big Sky," there aren't many clouds. A city of about 100,000 people between Denver and Calgary, Billings is weathering the economic storm better than many other communities in this country.
Many homeowners find they can't sell their homes so instead they reluctantly become landlords.
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In Chicago, there's a hot market for condominium rentals, which means owners who weren't able to sell have a shot at covering their costs by becoming landlords.
Credit Cheryl Corley / NPR
In this sagging economy, homes can sit on the market for weeks or months. So, would-be sellers often move on, and instead of handing the keys over to new owners, they hand them to tenants. Sometimes that goes well — sometimes not.
"This is the new reality," says Chicago Realtor Frank Maguire. "Our market is, you might sell your home or you might not. There's a whole world of people who are unintentional landlords."
On-Air Challenge: Every answer is the name of a world capital. You'll be given a four-letter word. The first two letters are the first two letters of the city's name, and the last two are the last two letters of the country's name. For example, if you were given "loin," the answer would be London, Great Britain.
A man dressed as John Lennon holds a sign at the "Move Your Money" protest in Los Angeles. He and others protested bank fees and pushed for "good jobs," a common theme at protests seen nationwide as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement and the growing frustration among the Millenial generation.
The Occupy Wall Street protests in several cities around the country have turned a spotlight on the growing frustration among the millennial generation, a group that has suffered crushing student loan debt and high rates of unemployment.
Lindey Loftin is part of that generation, but the 27-year-old is not unemployed. In fact, she says she loves her job, is well paid and has no college loan debt. Her employer actually paid for a portion of her education.
Round 7 of our Three-Minute Fiction contest attracted more than 3,000 story submissions. Tasked with writing an original short story that can be read in about three minutes, contestants had to include one character arriving to town and one character leaving town.
The judge for this round, writer Danielle Evans, has picked her favorite.