【The Economist】为何发达国家出现了就业热潮?

雪莉 译者说 2019-06-14

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如今,大多数发达国家正在经历前所未有的就业热潮。以美国为例,目前其失业率仅为3.6%,创半个世纪以来新低。在日本,15岁至64岁的劳动人口就业率高达77%,六年内上升了6个百分点。同时英国的月均工作时长和德国的就业规模也都大幅提高。就连失业率相对较高的法国、西班牙和意大利等国,其就业率也接近甚至超过2005年的水平。

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The great jobs boom就业热潮




The rich world is enjoying an unprecedented employment bonanza, which capitalism’s critics have missed

发达国家经历前所未有的就业热潮,反对者却浑然错失



EVERYONE SAYS work is miserable. Today’s workers, if they are lucky enough to escape the gig economy and have a real job, have lost control over their lives. They are underpaid and exploited by unscrupulous bosses. And they face a precarious future, as machines threaten to make them unemployable.


人人都说工作苦。现今的劳动者如果能有幸摆脱零工经济找到一份正式工作,他们就会无法掌控自己的生活。他们不仅面临低工资、饱受无耻雇主的剥削,而且还会因智能机器威胁而朝不保夕。


There is just one problem with this bleak picture: it is at odds with reality. As we report this week, most of the rich world is enjoying a jobs boom of unprecedented scope. Not only is work plentiful, but it is also, on average, getting better. Capitalism is improving workers’ lot faster than it has in years, as tight labour markets enhance their bargaining power. The zeitgeist has lost touch with the data.


这种惨淡的景象只说明一个问题:它与现实不符。正如本周我们报道,大多数发达国家正经历前所未有的就业热潮。工作岗位不仅充足而且就业形势越来越好。劳力市场紧缩增强了劳动者的薪酬议价能力。相较于以往,资本主义国家能较快改善劳动者的生活状况。时代思潮与数据已脱节。


Just the job

仅仅是工作


In America the unemployment rate is only 3.6%, the lowest in half a century. Less appreciated is the abundance of jobs across most of the rich world. Two-thirds of the members of the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries, enjoy record-high employment among 15- to 64-year-olds. In Japan 77% of this group has a job, up six percentage points in six years. This year Britons will work a record 350bn hours a month. Germany is enjoying a bonanza of tax revenue following a surge in the size of its labour force (see article). Even in France, Spain and Italy, where joblessness is still relatively high, working-age employment is close to or exceeds 2005 levels.


美国的失业率仅为3.6%,是半个世纪以来的最低水平。鲜有人知的是,大多数发达国家有不计其数的工作机会。由多数发达国家组成的经济合作发展组织(OECD),其中三分之二的成员国民众在15-64岁年龄段就业率创历史新高。日本这一年龄段中77%的人都有工作,六年内上涨了六个百分点。今年,英国人每月工作时长高达3500亿小时,史无前例。在德国,随着劳动力激增,税收收入丰厚。在法国、西班牙和意大利,即使失业率相对较高,但劳动力适龄人口就业率也接近或超过了2005年的水平。


The rich-world jobs boom is partly cyclical—the result of a decade of economic stimulus and recovery since the great recession. But it also reflects structural shifts. Populations are becoming more educated. Websites are efficient at matching vacancies and qualified applicants. And ever more women work. In fact women account for almost all the growth in the rich-world employment rate since 2007. That has something to do with pro-family policies in Europe, but since 2015 the trend is found in America, too. Last, reforms to welfare programmes, both to make them less generous and to toughen eligibility tests, seem to have encouraged people to seek work.


从一定程度上讲,发达国家的就业热潮是周期性的——这是自经济大萧条以来,十年经济刺激和经济复苏的结果,但也反映出了结构性的转变。民众受教育程度越来越高。各类网站能有效匹配空缺职位和合格求职者。女性就业人数上升。事实上,2007年以来,女性就业率增长占发达国家的多数。这与欧洲的支持家庭政策有关,但自2015年以来,美国也出现了这种趋势。最近,福利项目进行改革,消减福利额度同时又强化了审查力度,这似乎又鼓励人们寻找工作。


Thanks to the jobs boom, unemployment, once the central issue of political economy, has all but disappeared from the political landscape in many countries. It has been replaced by a series of complaints about the quality and direction of work. These are less tangible and harder to judge than employment statistics. The most important are that automation is destroying opportunities and that work, though plentiful, is low-quality and precarious. “Our jobs market is being turned into a sea of insecurity,” says Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain’s Labour Party.


由于就业热潮,曾为政治经济核心问题的失业问题几乎从许多国家政治格局消失了。对工作质量和工作趋势的抱怨问题取而代之。与就业统计数据相比 ,这些数据更模糊、更难以判断。最重要的是,自动化正在减少工作机会,尽管工作岗位众多,但都质量低而且不稳定。英国工党党魁杰里米·科尔宾(Jeremy Corbyn)说,“我们就业市场正在变成一片不安全的海洋”。


Again, reality begs to differ. In manufacturing, machines have replaced workers over a period of decades. This seems to have contributed to a pocket of persistent joblessness among American men. But across the OECD as a whole, a jobs apocalypse carried out by machines and algorithms, much feared in Silicon Valley, is nowhere to be seen. A greater share of people with only a secondary education or less is in work now than in 2000.


同样,现实并非如此。几十年来,机器在制造业中已取代了工人。这似乎导致了少数美国男性不断失业。经合组织成员国都担心机器和算法带来就业灾难,美国尤为突出,但这一问题尚未发生。与2000年相比,受中等或以下教育的人就业率上升。


It is also true that middle-skilled jobs are becoming harder to find as the structure of the economy changes, and as the service sector—including the gig economy—expands. By 2026 America will have more at-home carers than secretaries, according to official projections. Yet as labour markets hollow out, more high-skilled jobs are being created than menial ones. Meanwhile, low-end work is becoming better paid, in part because of higher minimum wages. Across the rich world, wages below two-thirds of the national median are becoming rarer, not more common.


随着经济机构改变和包括零工经济在内的服务业的扩大,人们越来越难找到中等技能的工作岗位,这是事实。据官方预测,到2026年美国家庭式工作人员比秘书更多。然而随着劳动力市场空虚,高技能岗位要比低端工作岗位多。与此同时,低端工作薪酬变得更丰厚,部分原因是最低工资提高。在发达国家,低于全国工资中位数三分之二的工资正变得越来越少,而不是更加普遍。



As for precariousness, in America traditional full-time jobs made up the same proportion of employment in 2017 as they did in 2005. The gig economy accounts for only around 1% of jobs there. In France, despite recent reforms to make labour markets more flexible, the share of new hires given permanent contracts recently hit an all-time high. The truly precarious work is found in southern European countries like Italy, and neither exploitative employers nor modern technology is to blame. The culprit is old-fashioned law that stitches up labour markets, locking out young workers in order to keep insiders in cushy jobs.


至于就业不稳定,美国传统全职工作2017年就业比例与2005年相同。零工经济岗位仅占约1%。法国尽管最近的一些改革让劳动力市场更加灵活,但签订长期合同的新雇员所占比例也已达到历史最高水平。意大利等南欧国家工作岗位确实不稳定,这既不能归咎于雇主剥削也不能归咎于技术现代化。罪魁祸首是旧时法律体制,封闭了劳动力市场,将年轻人拒之门外,以便让内部员工安逸工作。


Elsewhere, the knock-on benefits of abundant work are becoming clear. As firms compete for workers rather than workers for jobs, average wage growth is rising, pushing up workers’ share of the pie—albeit not as fast as the extent of the boom might have suggested. Tight labour markets lead firms to fish for employees in neglected pools, including among ex-convicts, and to boost training amid skills shortages. American wonks fretted for years about how to shrink disability-benefit rolls. Now the hot labour market is doing it for them. Indeed, one attraction of the jobs boom is its potential to help solve social ills without governments having to do or spend very much.


此外,大量工作带来的附带利益日益凸显。随着公司竞争人才而不是工人竞争岗位,平均薪酬上升,增加了员工利益——虽然速度并未达到繁荣的程度。劳动力市场人才紧俏,导致公司开始在曾被忽略的后备劳动力中寻找员工(如有前科的人),加强技能短缺劳动力的培训。多年来,美国专家一直在为如何缩减残障抚恤金而苦恼。现今如火如荼的劳动力市场为他们解决了这个问题。事实上,就业热潮的诱惑之一在于无需政府参与或政府支出,就有可能解决社会弊病。


Nonetheless, policymakers do have lessons to learn. Economists have again been humbled. They have consistently underestimated potential employment, leading to hesitant fiscal and monetary policy. Just as their sanguine outlook on finance in the 2000s contributed to the bust, so their mistaken pessimism about the potential for jobs growth in the 2010s has needlessly slowed the recovery.


尽管如此,政策制定者确实可以从中吸取教训。经济学家需谦虚谨慎。他们一直低估了潜在就业机会,导致财政和货币政策止步不前。正如他们在21世纪初对金融业的乐观展望促成经济衰退,他们对本世纪头十年就业增长潜力的错误悲观情绪让经济复苏无谓地放缓。


The left needs to accept that many of the criticisms it levels at capitalism do not fit the facts. Life at the bottom of the labour market is not joyous—far from it. However, the lot of workers is improving and entry-level jobs are a much better launch pad to something better than joblessness is. A failure to acknowledge this will lead to government intervention that is at best unnecessary and at worst jeopardises recent progress. The jobs boom seems to be partly down to welfare reforms that the likes of Mr Corbyn have vociferously opposed.


左派需要承认,许多对资本主义的批评有悖事实。底层工人生活凄苦——远非如此。然而,工人境遇正在改善,入门级职位是比失业更好的起点。如果没认识到这一点,政府很有可能强加干预。往好方面说就是多此一举,往坏处说就是危及当今社会发展。就业热潮在一定程度上归因于像科尔宾这样的人强烈反对的福利改革。


The right should acknowledge that jobs have boomed without the bonfire of regulations that typically forms its labour-market policy. In fact, labour-market rules are proliferating. And although the jury is out on whether rising minimum wages are harming some groups, such as the young, they are not doing damage that is large enough to show up in aggregate.


右派士应承认,就业市场繁荣并不是劳动力市场政策法规的调控。事实上,劳动力市场规则也在激增。尽管最低工资水准上涨是否会损害一些团体的利益(如年轻人)还没有定论,但至少还没有造成群体性严重伤害。



The jobs boom will not last for ever. Eventually, a recession will kill it off. Meanwhile, it deserves a little appreciation.


就业热潮不会永远持续下去。最终,它还是会被经济衰退所扼杀。但目前它也值得人们欢欣鼓舞。


段 落 结 构


  • 第一部分(1段)第一段引出话题:人人都说就业惨;

  • 第二部分(2-4段)提出正面观点论证并分析。解释发达国家出现空前就业热潮的原因。

  • 第三部分(5-8段)驳论

  • 第四部分(9段)就业热潮带来的连锁效应;

  • 第五部分(10-12段)政策制定者需要吸取教训;

  • 第六部分(13段)提出结论。




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