爱思英语编者按:美国劳工部最新公布的数据显示,今年4月份美国非农业部门失业率较前月下降0.1个百分点,降至8.1%。失业率持续下降是就业市场改善之“喜”,但其背后也存在经济低速复苏、就业市场结构性压力未消之“忧”。

America's economy

美国经济

The pace we've come to expect.

我们期待已久的一步。

FOR the second month in a row, America’s labour market has disappointed, once again raising questions about whether the economic recovery is truly entrenched. Nonfarm payrolls rose just 115,000 in April from March. While the unemployment rate dipped to 8.1%, the lowest since early 2009, from 8.2%, it did so for the wrong reason: the labour force (those working or looking for work) shrank by 342,000.

在持续的第二月中,美国的劳务市场受挫,关于经济是否确定复苏的问题又被提了出来。从三月到四月份非农业人口仅仅增长了11.5万。然而失业率从2009年最低值8.2%下降到8.1%,这样是因为有错误的原因:劳动力(正在工作和正在找工作的人)减少了34.2万。

Private payrolls rose 130,000, but government payrolls shrank, something of a setback because the state and local government austerity that had created such a drag in the past two years had shown signs of easing this year. However, manufacturing payrolls did rise again, suggesting that the industrial sector, and exports in particular, remain a bright spot. Retail employment also recovered, suggesting the recent rise in petrol prices to around $4 a gallon has yet to take a big bite out of the consumer.

私人就业上升了13万,但是政府就业缩减,过去两年内联邦及地方政府采取的紧缩政策造成的衰退今年有松动的迹象。然而,制造业就业确实再次增长,预示着工业部分,尤其是出口,保持明朗的前景。零售就业也在复苏,暗示的最近汽油价格上升的4美元一加仑已经严重影响了消费者的利益。

One of the most troubling aspects of this report is that the shrinkage of the labour force means that just 63.6% of working-age adults are now actively engaged in work or looking for work. That's the lowest participation rate in decades. Part of this may be discouraged workers giving up the job hunt; the so-called "underemployment rate",  or U-6 rate to data wonks, held steady at 14.5% in April. But this rate has actually fallen faster than the overall unemployment rate since September, so the story here is more fundamental than lousy job prospects: it's a troubling sign of the slowing potential growth of the economy.

报告称最令人担忧的一方面是急剧减少的劳动力,也就是说仅仅有63.6%的工作年龄的成年人正在工作或在找工作。这是十年来最低的参工率。部分使工人因失望而放弃找工作,所谓的“低参工率”,或者U-6率统计,四月份保持稳定的14.5%。这一比率自从9月份确实比全部的失业率下的快,这里讲的比可恶的工作预期更基本:这预示着经济增长的潜力下降。

Now for the positive (such as it is) side. People will wonder if the economy is about to stall, much as it did in the second quarter of last year and the year before. I don't think so. The report is mostly disappointing because it is the second month in a row of sub-200,000 job growth. On the positive side, the previous two months’ employment were revised up a cumulative 53,000. And importantly, other data on the economy shows no signs of a sudden dropoff in activity; unemployment insurance claims dropped last week, factory purchasing managers’ activity picked up in April, car sales remained strong that month, and the stock market is largely holding its strong year-to-date gains. Most important, it is hard to find a fundamental reason for such a dip: the rise in petrol prices has halted, and was never as severe as last year’s; the European crisis has yet to spill over to markets here to the extent it has in previous years; and while the fiscal cliff looms at year end (see article in this week’s issue) it is hard to imagine it having any impact yet.

现在对于积极(就像原来的样子)的一方面。人们怀疑经济是否会像去年2季度和前年那样停滞。这是一个令人沮丧的报告因为第二个月仅仅增加了少于20万的工作岗位,积极地一方面,前两个月的就业累计反弹了53万个岗位。并且重要的是,其他关于经济的数据没有明显显示在行动上有下滑的风险,申请失业救济的人数上周下降了。工厂的采购在四月有增长的迹象,那个月汽车销售保持强劲,并且股票市场保持年初至今以来的强势。最重要的是,找出经济下滑的基本原因是困难的:石油价格已经停止上涨,并且并没有像去年那样严重,欧债危机也没有超出前几年的范围,然而今年年底将凸显的财政问题(见本周周刊的表)现在现在还很难确定会出现什么样的危害。

So we’ll wait for more analysis which I suspect will show the last two months are simply payback for unsustainably strong growth earlier this year due to a warm winter and statistical noise related to seasonal adjustment. The economy is growing, but not strongly enough either to tamp down expectations that the Federal Reserve will have to act again—recall that Ben Bernanke, the chairman, suggested the Fed’s forecast is consistent with 150,000 to 200,000 jobs per month. And it’s certainly not strong enough to reassure the re-election of Barack Obama, whose poll ratings, like the stock market, seem to lurch up and down with each wiggle of the economic data.

所以我们需要等待更多的分析,我预计在最后两个月能不能持平今年早些时候断续的强势增长就要看有没有一个温暖的冬天和统计数据的季节性调整。经济正在增长,但是并没有强劲到需要美联储采取紧缩的货币政策——重新召回主席本伯南克,这显示美联储的预期与每月增加15万到20工作岗位相一致。这当然也没有强劲到保证奥巴马的连任成功,他的支持率就像股票市场,根据每个经济数据的变动而上下起伏。