Jefferson County, Alabama, Files Largest Municipal Bankruptcy in U.S. History

Birmingham, Alabama, the most prominent industrial center in the Southeast before the civil- rights era, has been on a long losing streak that just got longer.

For months, they labored to cut a deal with their creditors. But $4 billion is a deep hole to negotiate out of. And so, with a settlement seemingly out of reach, Jefferson County, Ala., relented this week, and is now is tagged with a long-dreaded superlative: On Tuesday, it filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.