《经济学人》:找呀找呀找工作
日期:2011-09-19 09:58

(单词翻译:单击)

Unemployment in the West
西方国家的失业情况

The quest for jobs
追逐工作

It is not impossible for politicians to reduce the West’s frighteningly high unemployment levels
对于政客们来说,降低西方国家令人为之恐惧的高失业率并不是不可能的

A LITTLE geographical imagination helps to convey the scale of joblessness in the West. If the 44m people who are unemployed in the mainly rich members of the OECD lived in one country, its population would be similar to Spain’s. In Spain itself, which has the West’s highest jobless rate (21%), the number of people without work matches the combined population of Madrid and Barcelona. In America the 14m people officially jobless would form the fifth-most-populous state in the union. Add in the 11m “underemployed”, who are working less than they would like, and it is the size of Texas.

一张小的地理图片便能有助于映射出西方国家的失业情况。在经济合作组织中,如果一些主要的发达成员国有4400万失业人口居住在一个国家,这就相当于西班牙的总人口数。而就西班牙本身而言却有着西方国家最高的失业率,达到21%。这些没有工作的人口加起来相当于皇家马德里和巴塞罗那两城市人口的总和。在美国,官方统计的失业人口为1400万,足以组成该国的第五大州。另外还有1100万未充分就业的人口,这相当于田纳西州的人口规模。

The landscape is not uniformly bleak. Germany, for example, now has a lower jobless rate than before the financial crisis. But in most of the rich world the proportion of people unemployed, though down a bit from its peak in 2009, is still alarmingly high, even as fears mount that several countries may be slipping back into recession. And the human cost of the economic crisis is paid largely by those who are out of work, for joblessness increases depression, divorce, substance abuse and pretty much everything that can go wrong in a life.

情况并不都是惨不忍睹的。例如,德国较金融危机之前相比,如今失业率却相对较低。但是在大多数富裕国家,失业人口的比重较2009年顶峰时相比,尽管有所降低,但仍然居高不下,令人担忧,甚至一些国家随着恐惧的加深,会再次滑落到经济衰退时期。经济危机中人类所付出的代价主要有失业者们“买账”,他们的抑郁症状增加,离婚率上升,滥用物质,很多东西会使他们的一生误入歧途。

Worse, today’s joblessness is a particularly dangerous sort. A disproportionate share of those out of work are young, and youth unemployment leaves more scars, in terms of lower future wages and greater likelihood of future unemployment (see article (http://www.economist.com/node/21528614) ). Joblessness is also becoming more chronic. In America, famous for its flexible labour market, the average jobless spell now lasts 40 weeks, up from 17 in 2007. In Italy half of those without work have been so for more than a year. Long-term unemployment is harder to cure, as people’s skills atrophy and they become detached from the workforce. Its shadow lingers, reducing future growth rates, damaging public finances and straining social order for years to come.

更为糟糕的是,当今的失业是一个特别危险的因素。由于失业造成的分配不公“摊”在年轻人身上,考虑到未来的低工资和可能性较高的失业,年轻时期的失业情形留下了更深的伤疤。失业也正在变得极重难返。以灵活市场就业出名的美国如今平均失业时间会持续40个周,与2007年的17个周相比有所上升。在意大利,一半的失业者遭遇这种情形不止一年。由于人们的技术会不断“萎缩”,而他们又变得与世(劳动者)隔绝,所以长期的失业很难“治愈”。阴影—未来的经济增长率有所下降、公共财政遭到损坏及未来的社会秩序变的歪曲—挥之不去。

This mess will not be fixed quickly. Even if growth accelerates, unemployment will remain worryingly high for several years. Many remedies, such as retraining workers, take time. But that only makes it all the more shocking that politicians have done so little. America is stuck in a sterile debate, with the left claiming that the government is not spending enough, while the right insists that big government is destroying jobs. An increasingly unpopular Barack Obama was due to address Congress on the subject just after The Economist went to press (see article (http://www.economist.com/node/21528659) ). Across the Atlantic many of the responses to the euro crisis (see article (http://www.economist.com/node/21528629)) seem designed to drive up joblessness. The West’s leaders can and must do better.

这种杂乱无章的局面不会立即得到解决。即使经济增长加速,失业率在未来几年内仍会居高不下,令人堪忧。许多像再次培训工人这样的解决方案非常耗时。然而那样做只会使情况更加糟糕,而政客们做的非常少。美国依然沉浸在毫无结果的争论中,“左”派分子宣称政府花钱不够,而“右”派分子坚持声称庞大的政府计划正在损坏工作。就在本期《经济学家》出版后,越来越不受欢迎的美国总统巴拉克奥巴马就这一主题向国会发表演讲。为了抬高失业情形,环大西洋的许多国家对欧元危机的反应似乎是故意的。西方国家领导人能够也必须做得更加出色。

Go for growth
一切为了增长

The immediate priority should be supporting demand—or at least not doing harm to it. The left is right on one thing: the main cause of the current high joblessness is the severity of the last recession and the weakness of the subsequent recovery. Yet the West’s economies have embarked on contractionary policies. In some cases the fault lies with monetary policy: the European Central Bank should reverse its recent rate rises. But the main culprit is a collective, premature shift to fiscal austerity by governments.

眼下应该将重点放在支持需求上—或至少不能做不利于需求增长的事。“左”派的观点在此是正确的。当前企高不下的失业率应主要归结为上次经济衰退的严重性和随之而来疲软的经济复苏。然而西方经济体却实施收缩银根的政策。在一些情况下,错误就产生于货币政策:欧洲央行应该扭转它最近上扬的汇率。但是最主要的罪魁祸首是各国政府实施集体的不成熟的向财政紧缩的转变。

As this newspaper has repeatedly argued, politicians need to strike a bargain with the bond markets: combine policies that cushion growth now with measures that will bring deficits under control in the medium term. Raise the retirement age, for instance, and that leaves more room to stimulate growth in the short term. A minimal test of Mr Obama’s jobs agenda will be whether it is big enough to counter the fiscal tightening, equivalent to 2% of GDP, that is slated for next year.

由于信息被不断的争论,政客们需要和债券市场达成协议:将缓解增长的政策与控制财政赤字在中期内相结合。例如,提高退休年龄及在短期内腾出更多“空间”以刺激增长。对奥巴马工作日程变最低的测试便是它是否大到足以抵抗财政紧缩的程度,那相当于国内生产总值的2%,明年将会实施。

Where should the short-term money go? Some forms of stimulus are better than others at supporting employment. Germany’s subsidies for shortened working hours helped dissuade firms from firing workers; Mr Obama’s subsidies for green technology fattened the bottom line of a few chosen firms but did very little to spur jobs. Governments should prioritise policies that do. Some infrastructure spending, such as building roads and repairing schools, falls into that category. So do tax incentives that cut the cost of hiring, particularly for extra new workers—which is why it makes sense for America to extend, and even expand, its payroll-tax cut. And so, in America’s case, does federal aid to the states, since the main way states cut their budgets is by firing workers.

短期内的资金应该流向何处?一些刺激方案在提高就业方面要比其他其他方案好得多。德国采取对工作时间的缩短进行补贴以有效阻止公司解雇工人。奥巴马总统虽然资助绿色科技,扩大了一些被选中公司的底线,但是对刺激工作却做得少之甚少。各国政府应将所要做的事情按顺序优先排列。一些基础设施花费,例如修建公路和修复学校,应该归于某一类。税收减让措施也应该这样做以减少雇佣成本,特别是对新进来的额外工人—这就是为什么对于美国来说扩大甚至扩张减少工资薪金税有意义。这样做的话,就美国的情况而言,也有利于联邦政府对各州的资助,因为各州减少预算的主要方式是解雇工人。

Easing the road ahead
舒缓前方的路

So there are ways in which government money can help. But it is also plain that the jobs mess is not just about demand: it cannot be solved with more stimulus alone. There is plenty of evidence—from declining employment rates for less-skilled men to rising disability rolls—to suggest that Western economies had a brewing jobs problem long before the financial crisis hit. The combination of new technology and globalisation has reduced the demand for the less skilled, and many workers, particularly men, have failed to respond to these deep changes in the labour market. The shift in demand for skills has a long way to go, as our special report on the future of work explains. It suggests an important part of any jobs agenda must involve changes in education, more training to equip people in the rich world for tomorrow’s jobs and getting government off entrepreneurs’ backs.

所以政府资金在一些方面可以起到作用。但是由于求职市场杂乱无章,不是仅仅事关需求,所以效果微乎其微:那不能单靠更多的刺激方案就能解决问题。有许多证据显示,在金融危机袭击很久之前,西方国家经济体中的工作弊病就正在酝酿发酵:从技术欠缺工人不断下降的就业率到能力不够的人数的不断增长。新技术和全球化两者的结合降低了对技术欠缺工人者的需求,并且许多工人,特别是男性工作者,未能对劳工市场这些深层次的变革做出成功地回应。正如我们在“特别报道”版块中对未来工作的解释,对技术需求的转变有很长一条路要走。报道中指出,任何工作日程表中一项重要的部分就是一定要涉及教育改革,更多的培训以武装人们迎接发达国家未来的工作,及让政府停止对企业家的责备。

But it is also clear that labour-market policies themselves can make a huge difference. In many cases this means deregulation. In Spain 46% of young people under the age of 25 are out of work because there is a two-tier system, with mollycoddled “permanent” workers and easy-to-fire “temporary” workers, who are disproportionately young. Europe’s Mediterranean economies could learn a lot from Germany’s labour-market overhaul. America is better at creative destruction, but it invests too little in ways to help the unemployed back to work. Mr Obama could usefully look to the Netherlands and Denmark for ideas on how to overhaul an antiquated unemployment system and improve its training schemes.

但是,还有非常清晰明了的是劳工市场本身就事关重大。在许多情况下,这就意味着放松管制。在西班牙,25岁以下的46%的年轻人由于受双层体制—一方面是娇生惯养中永久的工作者,一方面是随时可以被解雇的临时工作者—的影响而失业。后者和他们的年纪轻轻相比不成比例。欧洲地中海沿岸的经济体可以从德国劳工市场的大调整中学到很多。美国更擅长创造性的破坏,但是因它在帮助失业者重返工作岗位所付出的太少而不能解决问题。奥巴马总统可以虚心有效地向荷兰和丹麦请教如何改革去除陈旧的失业体系而提高培训体系。

Do all these things correctly and the quest for jobs will take less time. But it has taken Western governments too long to grasp the seriousness of their jobs problem. Many people will suffer because of that.

正确地完成这些计划,那么找到工作将会节省许多时间。然而西方国家动作迟缓而未能认识到失业问题的严重性。许多人因此苦不堪言。

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重点单词
  • prematureadj. 提前的,过早的,早产的 n. 早产儿,早熟
  • antiquatedadj. 陈旧的,过时的,年老的 动词antiquate
  • agendan. 议事日程
  • shiftn. 交换,变化,移动,接班者 v. 更替,移转,变声
  • respondv. 回答,答复,反应,反响,响应 n. [建]壁
  • destructionn. 破坏,毁灭,破坏者
  • expandv. 增加,详述,扩展,使 ... 膨胀, vi. (谈
  • sterileadj. 贫瘠的,无生气的,无生育能力的,无结果的,无菌
  • reversen. 相反,背面,失败,倒档 adj. 反面的,相反的,
  • chronicadj. 长期的,慢性的,惯常的