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As fears rise that the country will sink into recession in 2013, U.S. President Barack Obama addressed the nation Friday to discuss the necessary policy moves needed overseas and on the home front to protect economies around the globe.
At the White House press conference Friday, President Obama urged European leaders to act to mend the ailing region's escalating financial crisis. The president implored global finance ministers to infuse capital into fragile banks "as soon as possible."
"These decisions are fundamentally in the hands of Europe's leaders and fortunately they understand the seriousness of the situation and the urgent need to act," President Obama said.
The president also pressed upon Congress to pass measures to toughen the American economy. President Obama said the United States could swiftly feel the ripple effects of a potential recession in Europe, which could send the U.S. economy spiraling downward.
President Obama said steep and abrupt cuts to government spending would only stall the pace of the recovery, and in turn, worsen the government's capability to deal with debt and deficits.
"We've got a couple of sectors in our economy that are still weak," said the president. "Overall, the private sector has been doing a good job of creating jobs. The big challenge we have in our economy right now is state and local government hiring has been going in the wrong direction."
Recession 2013: The Jobs Factor
Lost jobs, in particular government jobs, and the lack of jobs creation has been a chief factor in dreary hiring reports over the last several months.
The U.S. Labor Department's May jobs report released last Friday revealed that just 69,000 jobs were added in the month -- 81,000 less than forecast. The report pointed out that a key reason for the lackluster numbers were layoffs linked to cutbacks in government spending.
The public sector, not the private sector, is struggling in terms of jobs creation.
"The truth of the matter is that, as I said, we've created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months; over 800,000 just this year alone," President Obama said. "The private sector is doing fine."
The president unveiled a jobs plan last fall, but blamed Congress for not seeing it through.
"They left most of the jobs plan just sitting there," the president said. "And in light of the headwinds we're facing right now, I urge them to reconsider. Because there are steps that we can take right now to get people back to work."
U.S. markets showed little reaction to the president's press conference, and were trading cautiously higher on reports that Spain's banking pains may be helped over the weekend by a bailout.
Despite fears of a recession in 2013, markets ended the week higher. The Dow Jones was up more than 435 points, or 3.6%, for the week; the S&P 500 was better by 0.81%, and the Nasdaq 0.97%.
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