NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- "Today was a microcosm of the market," Jim Cramer told his "Mad Money" TV show viewers Monday. He said despite the markets ups and downs, the markets seem pretty steady, unlike that of 2011. Cramer said on the surface it might seem easy to draw a parallel between now and this same time last year. Both years started out with a bang, he said, but last year's markets hit a big wall named Europe. But that's not the case this year, as the market dynamics are different. Cramer likened the market to a four-legged stool, with the legs represented by the U.S., Europe, China and the emerging markets. He explained that last year the U.S. markets were doing nothing, while Europe was just realizing it was in big trouble. Meanwhile China was putting the breaks on its red-hot real estate markets and the emerging markets were slowing their economies as well. Putting all four of those factors together meant that there was no way the slowly improving U.S. markets could escape the pull from Europe. Fast forward to today and Cramer said the markets paint a different picture. Europe is still in a recession, he said, but there is some progress being made on the debt issues. The European economies could still take a turn for the worse, but largely they've stabilized. Things are still slowing in China, said Cramer, but at least that country is letting up on the brakes, as are the emerging markets like Brazil. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy is picking up steam, led by aerospace, oil and gas, autos and non-residential construction. Cramer said today's stool creates a mixed picture, but one that's far better than it was just a year ago. Thus the markets are tipped by news from Europe and can react positively to news out of China, but largely they hold their own. Cramer said this can be seen in today's trading action, as stocks sold off in the morning while the European markets were trading, but rallied in the afternoon as the U.S. news ruled the rest of the day.