Millions of Americans are still searching for jobs or facing home foreclosures. For them, the Great Recession drags on into its fifth year.
But for others, the U.S. economy is looking up.
Companies in certain sectors are buying equipment again and hiring workers. These pockets of strength — found in energy, technology, manufacturing, autos, agriculture and elsewhere — are helping invigorate the broader economy.
The city of Stockton, Calif., about 90 minutes east of San Francisco, is broke and on the brink of bankruptcy. Stockton's road to insolvency is a long one, and it appears that, financially speaking, everything that could go wrong in Stockton did.
If Stockton can't solve its budget crisis, it would be the largest American city to go bankrupt.
After a series of videos revealing apparent cruel treatment of farm animals went viral, Iowa has made it a crime for people to misrepresent themselves to gain access to a farm. The so-called "Ag-Gag" law targets undercover animal rights activists who secretly take videos. Farmers say they need the legal protection to block those trying to take down agriculture, but critics ask what the industry may be hiding.
The American job market is still a long way from healthy, but its pulse feels a lot stronger now than it did six months ago. The Labor Department says employers added 227,000 workers to their payrolls in February, a solid — if not spectacular — performance. It continues a trend that suggests a genuine recovery, not a temporary blip.
The unemployment rate held steady at 8.3 percent, even as nearly 500,000 people joined the workforce.
Improvement in the job market is a boon for President Obama as he tries to hold onto his own job in November.
Meet Willow Tufano, age 14: Lady Gaga fan, animal lover, landlord.
In 2005, when Willow was 7, the housing market was booming. Home prices in some Florida neighborhoods nearly doubled from one month to the next. Her family moved into a big house; her mom became a real estate agent.
But as Willow moved from childhood to adolescence, the market turned, and the neighborhood emptied out. "Everyone is getting foreclosed on here," she says.