This would be the year when the global economy finally regained its vigor. At least that’s what many had hoped.
It didn’t happen.
The three largest economies – the United States, China and Japan – struggled again in 2012. The 17 countries that use the euro endured a third painful year in their financial crisis and slid into recession. Emerging economies slowed.
President Barack Obama defied predictions by sailing to re-election. And his landmark health care plan surprisingly survived Supreme Court review. Obama’s re-election triggered a face-off with Republicans over averting the “fiscal cliff” – the drastic spending cuts and tax increases that were set to kick in Jan. 1.
The tech world dueled over smartphones and tablets and saw Facebook’s (FB) IPO sour as fast as it had sizzled. The housing market inched toward recovery. And Americans suffered both a catastrophic drought and a catastrophic superstorm.
Least surprisingly, perhaps, another gallery of rogues brought investigative scrutiny to Wall Street.
The achingly slow global economic recovery was chosen as the top business story of the year by business editors at The Associated Press. The U.S. presidential election came in second, followed by the Supreme Court’s upholding Obama’s health-care plan.
AP Business Writers Christopher S. Rugaber in Washington and Jonathan Fahey, Erin McClam, Peter Svensson and Barbara Ortutay in New York contributed to this report.