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为何美国劳工生产力下滑?问题出在这里

更新时间:2019/11/8 18:17:02 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

    The U.S. economy needs labor productivity to grow more than ever. Real labor productivity fell at an annualized rate of 0.3 percent in the third quarter, the first decline in nearly four years, the labor department said Friday.

    美国当前的经济比以往更需要劳工生产力维持成长,只可惜现况事与愿违。美国劳工部6日公布,美国第3季的实质劳工生产力折合年率比前一季下滑0.3%,为近四年来首度下滑。

    The Wall Street journal reported that productivity data are usually extremely volatile compared to the previous quarter, but the long-term trend is also not encouraging. Labor productivity rose just 1.4 percent last quarter from a year earlier. That is in line with a modest increase in U.S. labor productivity over the 15 years starting in 2004, but is well behind the 2.5 percent average annual growth that ended in 2004.

    华尔街日报报导,与前季相比的生产力数据通常波动极为剧烈,但从长期趋势来看也不容乐观。上季劳工生产力仅比去年同期增加1.4%。这个数字符合自2004年起15年内,美国劳工生产力温和上扬的走势,但却大幅落后止于2004年的15年间、每年平均成长2.5%的步调。

    To understand how fast the U.S. economy is growing, two key factors need to be mentioned: how much labor is produced and how efficiently it gets done. Economic growth, therefore, is the sum of total labor hours and productivity growth.

    要了解美国经济成长速度有多快,就得提到两项关键因素:劳工的产出多寡,以及完成工作的效率。因此,经济成长就是劳工总工时及生产力成长的总和。

    But as the U.S. population slows and the labor force ages, there is limited room to work longer hours, so worker productivity is now important to the U.S. economy. The U.S. economy is not going to grow until the productivity of its workers actually improves.

    但随着美国人口成长趋缓和劳动力高龄化,工时的增加空间受到限制,因此劳工生产力目前对美国经济来说相当重要。在美国劳工生产力真正提升之前,美国经济不会成长。

    Unfortunately, American workers have not become more productive. Since the 2000s, American companies have continued to control capital spending, resulting in fewer labor-saving devices being introduced by companies. This phenomenon reflects the decline of the investment boom in the United States in the 1990s and a growing demand from investors for companies to control costs. Increased competition among large U.S. companies is a drag on profitability and ultimately hinders companies' ability to innovate, according to data released Thursday by the San Francisco federal reserve bank.

    可惜的是,美国劳工生产力并未提高。自2000年代以降,美企就持续控管资本支出,导致企业引进用来节省劳力的设备减少了,而此现象反映美国1990年代的投资热潮衰减以及愈来愈多投资人要求企业控管成本的潮流。根据旧金山联准银行4日公布的资料,大型美企之间的竞争加剧拖累获利能力,最终阻碍了企业的创新能力。

    But as labor costs continue to rise, it may give companies more reason to invest in productivity, which is good news, at least in the long run. The labor department report showed unit labor costs rose at an annual rate of 3.1 percent in the third quarter, the fastest pace in more than five years. Unit labor cost refers to the compensation provided by the enterprise for employees' output. This could be an incentive for companies to introduce new equipment and train existing staff to improve productivity.

    不过,随着劳动力成本持续提高,可能给企业更多理由投资生产力,至少从长远来看这是一项好消息。劳工部这份报告显示,美国第3季的单位劳动成本年增3.1%,增幅是逾五年来最高;单位劳动成本是指企业为员工产出所提供的补偿。这可能成为促使企业引进新设备及训练现有员工以提高生产力的诱因。

    Deutsche Bank economists have found that workers are particularly prone to productivity gains when the search for talent is difficult and wages are accelerating. Moreover, with the federal reserve now willing to tolerate a much lower unemployment rate than before, the incentive for American companies to become more productive will only increase.

    德意志银行(Deutsche Bank)经济学家发现,在求才不易及工资加速上涨时,劳工生产力特别容易提高。此外,由于目前的美国联准会(Fed)愿意忍受失业率处于比以往低得多的水准,美国企业提高生产力的诱因只会有增无减。

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