CEOs get a raise as average pay goes up 15 percent. Meanwhile, planned job cuts rose 7 percent in April, with the education sector hardest hit. The head of the European Central Bank said today that economic growth has to be central to the plan to get Europe out of its debt crisis. But a shift away from austerity will be easier said than done. Plus, Clinton and Geithner meet in China for talks; Tsunami trash headed to our Pacific shores; and older workers facing softening job market.
Also in the news, retailers are reporting sales gains for April that show a slowdown in spending from the previous month as cooler weather, an early Easter and renewed worries about the economy dampened shoppers’ enthusiasm to buy.
People signing up for unemployment benefits is a useful, if sometimes volatile, measure of the jobs market. The government this hour reported that 365,000 people filed for jobless benefits in the last week. That’s the biggest decline in new filings in a year and more than forecasters were expecting.
Carmaker BMW reported its best ever first quarter…and announced that China, not the US, is now its number one market. General Motors earned $1 billion in the first quarter but losses in Europe and a big charge weighed on results.
A meeting of European Finance Ministers turned out to be a contentious affair this week. The European Union wants to decide how much money banks need to have at the ready in case of emergency. However, the U.K. wants banks to hold onto bigger buffers and is pushing for these standards to be set country-by-country. Some analysts say France is worried that money will flow to Britain if British banks are seen as safer.
Pepsico has struck a deal with the estate of the late King of Pop Michael Jackson – who will be appearing in Pepsi ads worldwide starting in the coming weeks.
We’ll start in China – where US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner are this morning. They’re supposed to be talking about issues like trade… But instead – everyone’s focused on a blind Chinese dissident… who took refuge at the US embassy in Beijing…and is now asking for asylum in the United States.
Bill Clinton is warning Europeans that the perscription of austerity, quote “continues to be pushed in the face of evidence that it won’t work.” Speaking at the Milken Institute Global Conference in California the former president said what’s needed in Europe–and the US– is less political rancor and more long term thinking on promoting growth.
A very young entrepreneur from Connecticut is starting a business with a potential market the size of the population of Planet Earth. 13 year old Mallory Kievman went to one of those business startup competitions where you pitch your big idea…and won. Her idea: special lollypops that she says help with that nearly universal human scourge: hiccups. The New York Times says her patent is now pending and a bunch of University of Connecticut MBA students this summer are going to help Mallory devise a plan to get Hiccupops on the market.
Life can get pretty stressful – even for a toddler. And so an organization in Germany has launched the first ever resort for stressed out kids under the age of 5. According to the Daily Mail newspaper… The resort offers massages… Foot baths… And walks through wet grass without shoes and socks. No details yet on how they get 3 year olds to sit still for massages.