While consumer news often doesn’t get much coverage, it made big headlines this year.
Here’s my list of the top consumer stories of the year:
1. Auto recalls
More than 60 million vehicles have been recalled in the United States, twice as much as the previous annual record in 2004. About 700 recalls have been announced, an average of two a day. One in five vehicles on the road are affected.
2. Retail data breaches
At Target alone, 110 million customers had their credit card and personal information compromised. Home Depot hackers stole 56 million credit card numbers and 53 million email addresses. Breaches also occurred at Kmart, Dairy Queen, and Albertsons. JPMorgan Chase said hackers stole information covering 76 million households and 7 million small businesses.
3. The income gap
Income inequality has been on the rise in the United States for the past four decades. The share of total income earned by the top 1 percent of families was less than 10 percent in the late 1970s but now exceeds 20 percent as of the end of 2012.