Worried about an unemployment rate that now tops 10%—and is much higher for the construction sector—Congress has reacted with a package of extended and broadened tax breaks aimed at spurring housing and giving a boost to businesses in general. President Obama signed that bill on Nov. 6, but he and key congressional Democrats and industry officials agree more action is needed to turn around the grim jobless figures. In a move that could provide targeted help for construction, the White House is considering increased public-works funds as part of a recovery plan. + Image Note: Rates are not seasonally adjusted.
The 2016 Summer Olympics boating and swimming events have put an international spotlight on what has been a long-running problem in Rio de Janeiro—untreated sewage and trash are clogging up major bays and waterways.