G-20 Meeting: Recession DebatePresident Obama packed his wish list for fixing financial markets and the global economy to the world stage, but is already facing a tough sell to other leaders. French President Nicholas Sarkozy is among those who aren't 100 percent sold on the American approach to stimulate the world's economies out of the current recession.
The Group of 20 meeting begins today in London. Obama is expected to present and explain the new regulations that he and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner gave to Congress last week as a way to prevent another financial market collapse.
Obama has also asked for other leading nations to increase government spending to stimulate the global economy. Sarkozy wants tougher regulatory reforms adopted. France and Germany have asked for stronger reforms than the United States and United Kingdom.
France and Germany want regulatory reforms tackled first. Japan, India, China and United States want to start work on a macro-economic stimulus plan. The difference in priorities is a major sticking point. Obama wants to regulate hedge funds and derivatives markets, as well as get better coordination among regulators.
The United States faces criticism from other countries in its emphasis on economic stimulus over strengthening the current regulatory system in the U.S., seen by many as the cause of the current global crisis.
Some European countries may also ask to establish a global risk regulator to oversee banks and investment firms worldwide -- something than may not meet with enthusiasm by the U.S. and emerging nations.
Employment Reports Mixed
The private sector lost more than 700,000 jobs in March, according to ADP, a payroll-processing firm. But another report also released on Wednesday indicates that the pace of job cuts may be slowing.
The ADP report, based on payroll data from 500,000 U.S. businesses, shows the private sector shed 742,000 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis in March. This was up 36,000 from last month's revised figure of 706,000.
The loss was the largest decline since ADP began tracking job loss data in 2000, and was steeper than the 663,000 loss that economists predicted. Payrolls shrank in all sectors of the economy with sharp declines among small and medium-sized businesses, says ADP's report.
In a separate report, Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. reports the number of planned job cuts announced in March fell for the second straight month. Job cut announcements by U.S. employers totaled 150,411 in March, a drop of 19 percent from February's 186,350 cuts, which was down from a seven-year high in January, according the report. The March figure was the lowest since October but still is 181 percent higher than the 53,579 job cuts announced a year ago.
The government/non-profit sector was hit the hardest, says the report. That sector had 25,324 announced job cuts in March. The financial industry accounted for 8,651 job cuts, down 36 percent from the month before.
In the first quarter of 2009, employers already have announced 578,510 job cuts. That is 188 percent higher than the 200,656 job cuts announced in the first quarter of 2008.