Unemployment in the US fell to 7% in November, its lowest level in five years , as employers took on 203,000 new people.
November brought more bad news for believers in the eternal power of gold: the commodity saw its sharpest monthly price fall since June.
Central banks on both sides of the Atlantic are once again being forced to think the unthinkable.
For the first time ever, the 10 highest-paid chief executives in the US received more than $100m in compensation last year, and two took home billion-dollar paychecks, according to a leading annual survey of executive pay.
The US added just 148,000 new jobs in September as employers appear to have cut back on hiring ahead of Washington's budget battle.
The government shutdown has so far cost the US economy $24bn – or $1.5bn a day, ratings agency Standard & Poor’s said on Wednesday.
Shares and oil prices rose strongly on Thursday amid hopes that policymakers in Washington were buckling under the global pressure for them to settle their differences and prevent a US debt default.
Barack Obama’s choice for chairman of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, pledged to help those hardest hit by the recession and safeguard the financial system, at the official announcement of her nomination on Wednesday.
The White House is set to name Janet Yellen as the first woman to head the Federal Reserve, arguably the most important job in world finance, the Obama administration has confirmed.
President Obama met bank executives including Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein on Wednesday as economists, business leaders and European officials warned that the US government shutdown threatens to plunge the economy into a "deep and dark recession".
Federal prosecutors in New York have accused a Costa Rica-based company and its founder of running a $6bn money-laundering scheme that became a "bank of choice for the criminal underworld".
JP Morgan faced a barrage of criticism on Friday for it disastrous "London whale" trading loss as senators and the bank's regulator accused its executives of believing they were too big to fail, ignoring warnings about the escalating losses and deliberately withholding information.
Barack Obama warned on Saturday of a "ripple effect" through the US economy that would cost hundreds of thousands of jobs after he reluctantly signed an order to begin a huge $85bn (£56bn) programme of government cuts.