What will 2012 bring? We are in the fifth year of a financial crisis, and it would be wonderful to forecast a strong global recovery. Yet Europe is still trying to right itself, joblessness stays high in the U.S., and China’s ability to escape the malaise in the West remains an open question.
Ikea, the world’s biggest home- furnishings retailer, has slashed the price of its Billy bookshelves in the U.S. by 17 percent as unemployment and a sluggish housing market weigh on consumer confidence.
Manufacturing in the New York region unexpectedly contracted in August for a third straight month as orders dropped and managers became less optimistic about the future, signaling the industry that has led the economic recovery is at risk of stumbling.