Is the fate of the U.S. economy riding, again, on the consumer?

If so, that raises the stakes for the March retail sales report due Friday, along with a reading of consumer sentiment for April.

The nonfarm payrolls report, the Institute for Supply Management manufacturing and services indexes, jobless claims and consumer confidence (by one measure) all tumbled, MarketWatch said.

And don't expect much help from abroad, MarketWatch said. Total world economic growth is expected to be around 3.5 percent this year, about 2 percentage points worse than pre-recession times, the International Monetary Fund estimates. Read more.