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As President Obama and other world leaders arrive Saturday in Brisbane, Australia, for the annual G-20 summit, they will face a daunting challenge: steering a global economy that has seen most of its major players slowing down.

One notable exception is the U.S., which has picked up speed since early this year and is now the main engine for the world economy.

While that may seem like a big advantage for Obama, he and others in Washington have expressed mounting concerns that the economic problems overseas are threatening gains in momentum in the American job market and broader‎ economy.

"How long can the...

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