Top financial leaders met with President Barack Obama on Wednesday to urge an end to the government shutdown and budget battle. In particular, they urged the government not to default on its debt Oct. 17, as the consequences would be high and very painful.
Small-business optimism ticked up slightly in January, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. It was the second month of increase, after a plunge in November because of concerns about the "fiscal cliff." Still, the index shows that optimism remains below levels seen between October 2011 and October 2012.
Unemployment in the eurozone increased from 11.7% in October to 11.8% in November, the highest level on record, according to the EU's statistics office. EU-wide, joblessness held at 10.7%. Youth unemployment topped 50% in Spain and Greece.