While the housing sector's troubles continue to drag down the U.S. economy, manufacturing is doing well, largely because of strong sales overseas.
The exports boom has helped the manufacturing sector grow at a pace three times faster than the rest of the economy. According to federal data released last week, exports rose for the third straight month in November to nearly $160 billion.
Overseas customers are buying more U.S. airplanes, pharmaceuticals, foods, industrial supplies, cotton, computers and more.
The Labor Department's first-ever use of its toughest enforcement tool has resulted in a court-supervised settlement with coal mine giant Massey Energy.
The agreement involves Massey's Freedom Mine #1 in Pike County, Ky., which is described in court documents as a mine so dangerous it requires court supervision. Freedom was singled out for an unprecedented federal court injunction owing to a persistent "pattern of violations" of mine safety law, which "constitutes a continuing hazard to the health or safety of miners."
The 112th Congress convenes for the first time Wednesday. Republicans now hold the majority in the House, and gained seats in the Senate. What does that means for economic policy? David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal, talks to Steve Inskeep about the economic agenda of the new Congress.
Wal-Mart has canceled its plans to expand into the Russian market. The giant U.S. retailer said Monday it had decided to close its office in Moscow, because of the lack of opportunity to acquire Russian retailers.