经济学人:两个半场的竞赛
日期:2012-02-20 13:31

(单词翻译:单击)

EVEN people who don’t normally care much for football tune in to the Super Bowl to watch the best commercials Madison Avenue can dream up. The most talked about this year was Chrysler’s gritty tribute to the economic revival of America and Detroit. More short film than commercial, it ends with the actor Clint Eastwood huskily declaring that Our second half is about to begin.
超级碗开始时,就连平时不关注橄榄球的人们也纷纷转台,观看比赛间隙美国广告界独运匠心的作品。今年,克莱斯勒汽车公司的广告让观众津津乐道,特别是广告中向美国及汽车之城底特律的经济复苏致以的崇高敬意。与其称之为广告,倒不如将它归为一部微电影。最后,它以演员克林特伊斯特伍德沙哑磁性的声音结尾:我们的下半场马上拉开帷幕。
The muscular patriotism brought lumps to the throats of sentimental viewers; the more cynically minded called it a re-election ad for Barack Obama, whose administration saved Chrysler from oblivion with a bail-out in 2009. A better explanation may simply be timing: it coincides with the best evidence in months that America’s economy, led by manufacturing, really is on the mend.
广告中流露的熊熊爱国心使不少感性观众哽咽欲泣;相比之下,持怀疑态度的人则认为这是贝拉克奥巴马的连任竞选广告,因为2009年奥巴马政府以紧急资助资金从遗忘中挽救了克莱斯勒。此外,时机也许是一个更好更明了的解读:广告播出于美国数月以来经济形势最好的时候,以制造业领军的美国经济,确实正在复苏。
Five days before its ad aired, Chrysler, now part of Italy’s Fiat, reported its best January sales since 2008, up 44% from a year earlier. The next day it announced it would hire 1,800 people at a plant in Belvidere, Illinois, to build its new Dodge Dart. The good news is hardly confined to Chrysler. The auto industry as a whole sold 1.2m vehicles in January, many more than expected, and a 4% increase from December.
此广告播出五天前,现已被意大利菲亚特收购的克莱斯勒,通报了自2008年至今最高的一月份销售额,比去年同期增长了44%。第二天,公司宣布将雇佣1800名工人去伊利诺斯州贝尔维戴尔制造新款道奇Dart汽车。好消息并不仅仅局限于克莱斯勒一家公司。整个汽车产业一月份售出一百二十万辆汽车,远远超越预期,比去年十二月份销量增长4%。
Then on February 3rd the government reported that non-farm employment jumped 243,000 in January, or 0.2%, from December, the best in nine months, led by manufacturers, who boosted payrolls by 50,000. Government statisticians also revised data for the previous year and found that at year-end there were 266,000 more jobs than had previously been thought.
另外,二月三日政府指出,非农业就业人数一月份激增二十四万三千人,较十二月增长0.2%,为九个月以来最佳纪录,当然应归功于猛增五万编制雇员的制造业。同时,政府统计员通过修正上一年数据,发现实际上2011年底已创造出超越估计的二十六万六千多个工作岗位。
The unemployment rate, which has repeatedly surprised economists with the speed of its descent, did so again: it fell to 8.3%, a three-year low, from 8.5%. Its decline from a peak of 10% in October 2009 has been helped by unusually stagnant growth in the labour force. When fewer people want to work, fewer are counted as unemployed. That, however, was not the case in January when the labour force grew by 250,000. The unemployment rate dropped anyway because the number of employed people leapt by 631,000.
屡创新低的失业率震惊了经济学家,日前再次给人们带来惊喜:它从8.5%又降至8.3%,为三年来历史最低点。失业率之所以能从2009年十月的顶峰值10%降至现在的水平,可以说零增长的劳动力起到了一定作用。想找工作的人越少,失业的人数也就越少。但是,这不是一月份劳动力增加二十五万人的原因。归根到底,就业人数激增六十三万零一千人使失业率降低。改:但是一月份的劳动力增加了二十五万人,所以这个月的失业率下降并不是因为劳动力增长缓慢,而是因为就业人数激增了整整六十三万零一千人。
The report was greeted with relief bordering on joy by the stockmarket and, no doubt, by Mr Obama’s campaign team. But their happiness should be tempered by the reflection that in both 2010 and 2011, job growth started out briskly only to fizzle out again.
报告让广大群众松了口气,继而股票市场喜迎飘红,当然奥巴马总统的竞选团队也可轻松一下。但是,他们在兴奋之余更应保持头脑清醒:为何2010年和2011年就业光明的回暖之势却不明夭折了。
Will it do so again this year, possibly dooming Mr Obama’s re-election? Two factors explain the economy’s previous false starts. First, banks, households and governments are paring their debts. That deleveraging has further to go, but seems to have slowed as rock-bottom interest rates coax consumers to indulge some of their pent-up demand for homes and cars. State and local government lay-offs have also slowed. Meanwhile firms that were able to meet increased demand by boosting the productivity of their existing workforce no longer can. Productivity growth, which topped 6% in the wake of the recession, slowed to just 0.5% in the fourth quarter (from a year earlier). In December employers reported total job vacancies of 3.4m, close to its highest since 2008.
今年是否还会如此?如果状况再次发生,恐怕奥巴马的连任竞选将面临破产。两个原因可解释之前美国经济错误的着手点。第一,银行,居民,和政府都在逐步清还债务。尽管降低债务杠杆还有很长的路要走,但至少借款已经减缓,与此同时,低至谷底的银行利率也诱惑消费者暂时满足下他们对住房及汽车压抑已久的购买欲。此外,之前,工厂可以通过提高已有劳动力的生产效率满足日益增加的需求,但现在,这种方法行不通了。即使生产效率一度在经济衰退后以6%的速度增长,去年第四季度也降低到了0.5%。去年十二月,雇主反馈职位空缺总量达到三百四十万,接近2008年以来的最高值。
The second stumbling block has been bad luck. In both 2010 and 2011 Europe’s sovereign debt crisis flared up, damaging confidence in America. Last year the Arab spring sent petrol prices soaring, pinching incomes, while Japan’s earthquake and tsunami disrupted supply chains.
第二个障碍物可归结为接踵而来的霉运。在2010年和2011年里,欧洲主权国家的债务危机愈演愈烈,甚至打击了美国对金融市场的信心。去年,阿拉伯之春又把汽油价格推上天,消费者入不敷出。日本大地震和海啸更严重干扰了供应链。
The threat of more such setbacks still hangs over the economy. Europe’s crisis has not been solved. The intensifying confrontation between Iran and the west has driven petrol prices up 25 cents per gallon since mid-December. Federal austerity remains a threat: Congress is once again locked in confrontation over a payroll-tax break that expires at the end of this month and a raft of other tax increases and spending cuts will kick in next year unless it intervenes. In the economy, as in football, there is no guarantee that the second half will be easier than the first.
更多诸如此类的阻碍仍像噩梦般笼罩在美国经济周围。欧债危机尚未解决。伊朗与西方社会的紧张局势使每加仑汽油价自十二月中旬以来上涨了二十五美分。联邦政府的财政紧缩政策仍是一个威胁:针对本月到期的工资税减免政策,国会再一次陷入僵局。除非国会加以干涉,有关增加税收和削减开支的一系列规定将自行生效。总之,在复苏经济的过程中,正如橄榄球比赛一样,什么也无法担保下半场能比上半场轻松,抑或出现好兆头就意味着胜利。

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  • explanationn. 解释,说明
  • dodgev. 避开,躲避 n. 躲避
  • fell动词fall的过去式 n. 兽皮 vt. 砍伐,击倒 a
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  • stagnantadj. 不流动的,不景气的
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  • threatn. 威胁,凶兆 vt. 威胁, 恐吓