Hello, I'm Mark Pearson. A key barometer of consumer sentiment appeared to stabilize this week only to be shocked back to reality by a grim labor report.
The Consumer Confidence Index edged up slightly in March after falling to an all-time low in February. But the optimism was short-lived.
On Friday, the Labor Department reported U.S. employers slashed 663,000 jobs from their payrolls last month, pushing the nation's unemployment rate to 8.5 percent. That's its highest level in 26 years.
But bolstered by better-than-expected readings in the housing, banking and manufacturing sectors the Dow Jones Industrials Index shook off the labor numbers with a gain of about 40 points.
The Dow closed Friday above the 8000 mark -- up more than 20 percent since March 9, reflecting its best four-week run since 1933.
This week's rally aside, America is but one piece of an increasingly complex global economy which also is in a slump. And this week, President Obama traveled "across the pond" to consider solutions.
World leaders flocked to London this week hoping to hammer out agreements and consensus on a host of issues including the global economy. In what has become a modern-day global summit tradition, thousands of protestors took to the streets of London. Some groups called for the end of capitalism while smashing windows throughout Britain's financial district.
Only blocks away from throngs of protestors, President Obama met with numerous foreign leaders including Chinese President Hu Jintao. China owns an estimated $1 trillion in U.S. debt and American representatives attempted to soothe Chinese concerns about the United States economy.
Barack Obama: "I said publicly -- and I continue to believe -- that the relationship between China and the United States is not only important for the citizens of both our countries, but will help to set the stage for how the world deals with a whole host of challenges in the years to come." (Newshour Wed. April 1)
Obama also met with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Brown pledged to work alongside America and other G20 nations to enact common policies that crack down on tax havens, regulate hedge funds, and rebuild trust in the global financial system.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Britain: "And I think, as President Obama has said, look, never before has the world come together in this way to deal with an economic crisis." (Newshour Wed. April 1)
Later in the week, President Obama claimed the meetings produced global consensus for taking so-called "toxic assets" out of struggling banks, creating stronger financial regulations, and infusing billions of dollars in government funds into the world's economies.
Barack Obama: "The London Summit was historic. It was historic because of the size and the scope of the challenges we face, and because of the timeliness and magnitude of our response."