Stockton hardly looks like the most miserable city in the country.
But the statistics and stories over the last two years make a case that it is: Since the housing crisis began, this inland port city 80 miles east of San Francisco has had one of the worst foreclosure rates in the country — for most of the time, the worst.
At the height of it, about 1 in 10 houses fell to foreclosure. Houses that sold for more than $500,000 before the crash now go for $200,000. In some neighborhoods, fixer-uppers cost less than a new Honda Fit — under $20,000.
Unemployed for nearly a year, David Becker was relieved to land a new job in information technology last summer.
The offer carried a price, though: It was a lower-rung job than the one Becker had lost. He had to uproot his family from Wisconsin to Nevada. And, like many formerly jobless people who find work these days, Becker is now paid far less than before — $25,000 less.
It's one of the bleak realities of the economic recovery: Even as more employers are starting to hire, the new jobs typically pay less than the ones that were lost.
In the government's data, a job is a job. More jobs point to a growing economy. But to people who used to earn $60,000, a new $40,000 job means they'll spend less — and contribute less to the recovery.
A man believed to have breached security to bid his girlfriend goodbye, triggering the shutdown of a busy Newark Airport terminal that led to snarled flights worldwide, was arrested in New Jersey and faces a trespassing charge and a fine of up to $500, punishment a senator says should be much harsher.
Haisong Jiang, 28, of Piscataway was taken into custody at 7:30 p.m. Friday at his home, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said. He was questioned at the airport by Port Authority police, who arrested him, and released shortly after midnight.
The Port Authority said in a statement that Jiang will being charged with defiant trespass, and that the charge was determined in coordination with the Essex County prosecutor and federal officials, though it's not a federal charge. A spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration referred all questions to the Port Authority.
The home of superheroes including Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men sued one of its most successful artists Friday to retain the rights to the lucrative characters.
The federal lawsuit filed Friday in Manhattan by Marvel Worldwide Inc. asks a judge to invalidate 45 notices sent by the heirs of artist Jack Kirby to try to terminate Marvel's copyrights, effective on dates ranging from 2014 through 2019.
The heirs notified several companies last year that the rights to the characters would revert from Marvel to Kirby's estate.
The economy lost more jobs than expected in December while the unemployment rate held steady at 10 percent, as a sluggish economic recovery has yet to revive hiring among the nation's employers.
The Labor Department said Friday that employers cut 85,000 jobs last month, worse than the 8,000 drop analysts expected.
A sharp drop in the labor force, a sign more of the jobless are giving up on their search for work, kept the unemployment rate at the same rate as in November. Once people stop looking for jobs, they are no longer counted among the unemployed.
Before 9/11, U.S. intelligence officials had little information about terrorism, and they hoarded it.
Now, they share it. All of it. Everywhere. Information about threats — actual, perceived and bogus — is spread across multiple agencies, stored in multiple databases. It arrives in untold snippets from all over the world and is hurriedly passed around. Nobody wants to be blamed for sitting on the missing puzzle piece.
In explaining its failure to stop alleged al-Qaida operative Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from boarding a plane while carrying a bomb, the government said Thursday that it had plenty of dots to connect. Information was passed around. No puzzle pieces went missing, but nobody put it together.
And there was nobody to blame.
In case the prospect of nearly $4,000 in prescription assistance isn't enough to perk up low-income seniors, the government is using '60s singer Chubby Checker to publicize "the twist" in the Medicare drug program.
As of Jan. 1, more than 1 million low-income seniors are newly eligible for more generous prescription drug benefits under the "extra help" program. Benefiting from a new law are those with life insurance policies and those who regularly get money from relatives to help pay household expenses but were previously disqualified because of too many assets or too much income.
"The safety net is frayed and this is a way to start stitching it back together again," said Hilary Dalin, associate director for benefits at the National Council on Aging.
Gays are vowing to fight back through the courts after the state Senate voted down a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.
Minutes after the bill was defeated 20-14 on Thursday, gay rights advocates announced they would file a lawsuit seeking to get the state's top court to order New Jersey to recognize same-sex matrimony.
The state Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that the state must provide all the benefits of marriage to committed gay couples. In response, the Legislature legalized civil unions for gay couples.
Tiger Woods has nothing on White House budget director Peter Orszag.
On Dec. 39, ABC correspondent Brianna Golodyga announced on "Good Morning America" that she was engaged to Obama's budget guy.
She says she met him at the White House Correspondents Dinner back in May.
But as their relationship developed, Orszag also had a pregnant girlfriend, Claire Milonas of New York, who gave birth to their daughter a few weeks before the public engagement announcement.
No word yet on whether or not the current future Mrs. Orszag is expecting.
In a joint statement released by Orszag and Milonas, the former couple said:
Mayor Sheila Dixon fought back tears as she announced her resignation and thanked her staff for its loyalty and hard work. She acknowledged that she made poor choices and that she "disappointed" herself and her constituents.
What she didn't do was apologize or explain the actions that led to her downfall — her guilty plea on a perjury charge and her earlier conviction on a misdemeanor embezzlement charge.
Dixon's resignation Wednesday ended a three-year tenure that began with promise but unraveled amid embarrassing allegations that she stole from the poor.
Her attorney characterized the plea deal as favorable — she will receive probation before judgment at her sentencing Feb. 4, the same day her resignation takes effect.