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The bottom line

Consumer bankruptcy filings increase 9 percent; Tough times for coal-fired power plants; One third of the unemployed find new work; A $167 bonus for those earning $100,000; Where are the electric cars?

Consumer bankruptcy filings increase 9 percentIn 2010 the number of Americans filing for bankruptcy increased 9 percent, to more than 1.5 million. Consumer filings, which have increased every year since 2005, are expected to increase again in 2011.MarketWatch.com

Tough times for coal-fired power plantsCoal-fired power plants account for nearly half of America’s electricity supply, but a combination of cheap natural gas, the economic slowdown, and environmental litigation brought construction on coal-fired power plants to a halt in 2009 and 2010. Tighter regulations in 2011 could keep the damper on coal. The Washington Post

One third of the unemployed find new workOnly one third of people unemployed as of August 2009 had found replacement jobs by November 2010, according to a survey by Rutgers University. But even among this lucky group, hardship was common. In order to find work, 41 percent changed careers—and most took a pay cut in the process. The New York Times

A $167 bonus for those earning $100,000Due to new tax legislation that shrinks the Social Security payroll tax from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent, Americans earning $100,000 will now take home an extra $167 a month. CNNmoney.com

Where are the electric cars?Some 50,000 prospective car buyers are on waiting lists to purchase the Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf. Yet automakers have been slow to ramp up production of the electric vehicles. Chevy sold fewer than 350 Volts in December; Nissan released only 10 Leafs during the last two weeks of the year. Associated Press

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