Domestic crude oil production achieved its biggest one-year gain since 1951, driven by output in Texas and North Dakota.
to forge a budget deal to avert those measures. Economists said if the fiscal cliff measures remained in place for much of 2013, they would cause a recession.
5. Facebook’s IPO: Years of anticipation led to Facebook’s initial public offering of stock — the hottest Internet IPO since Google’s in 2004. On the eve of its first trading day, Facebook’s market value was $104 billion — more than Amazon.com’s or McDonald’s at the time. Yet the IPO bombed. Within three months, Facebook’s stock shed more than half its IPO value.
6. Housing recovery: After a six-year slump that sent more than 4 million homes into foreclosure and shrank home prices about one-third nationwide, the U.S. housing market began to recover in mid-year. Modest job gains and record-low mortgage rates fueled demand. Housing boosted economic growth this year for the first time since 2005.
7. Big oil: Domestic crude oil production achieved its biggest one-year gain since 1951, driven by output in Texas and North Dakota. The United States is on pace to pass Saudi Arabia as the world’s top oil producer within two years. Credit goes to drilling improvements, like those that have fed a boom in domestic natural-gas production — horizontal drilling combined with hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
8. Banking woes: It was a banner year for bank drama. JPMorgan Chase lost $6 billion in a complex series of trades. Morgan Stanley was accused of botching Facebook’s IPO. Barclays and UBS were fined for their roles in manipulating a key global interest rate.
9. Mother nature: The nation suffered its worst drought since the 1950s. Grain and food prices soared. Then a storm so destructive it was dubbed a “superstorm” hit the Northeast. Sandy will likely end up as the second-costliest U.S. storm ever after Hurricane Katrina.
10. Mobile-gadget wars: Competition in mobile technology intensified. Apple maintained its worldwide dominance. But the use of Google’s Android software on competing smartphones and tablets spread faster than Apple’s market share.
Phillip Zakhour makes his living by using several ‘sharing’ services.