The output of employees in advanced economies fell last year for the first time in more than 40 years, as the global economic crisis played havoc with companies' production and employment plans.
Although global labour productivity took a dive, the trends were different either side of the Atlantic. US employers reacted to the recession by cutting jobs and keeping labour productivity rising, while European unemployment rose much less and productivity dived.
More worrying for rich economies is that rising living standards are likely to become harder to achieve in future because they have become less effective at harnessing labour, skills, machinery and technology and turning it into output.
The disturbing figures come in the annual report on productivity trends from the Conference Board, the global business organisation, which tracks output, employment and hours worked across the world.
In contrast to the weaknesses in rich economies, emerging economies, led by China, can expect jobs, employment and productivity to continue to grow in 2010. “Emerging economies are becoming global competitors to be reckoned with on the basis of high productivity growth, not just because of low cost,” Mr van Ark said.
与富裕经济体的颓势形成对比的是，2010年，以中国为首的新兴经济体的工作岗位数目、就业率和生产率预计会继续增长。联合会执行董事巴特•凡•阿克(Bart van Ark)表示，“新兴经济体正成为不可小觑的全球竞争者，不仅仅在于它们成本低廉，更由于它们的生产率增长很快。”
Over the past decade, rich countries have watched their rates of total factor productivity growth decline and fall behind that of the emerging world, suggesting that unless employment, investment or skills rise faster, the sustainable rate of economic growth and living standards in rich countries has fallen.
At the same time as productivity was falling, figures from the UN yesterday showed that foreign direct investment also dropped by more than a third worldwide last year, as the effect of the recession combined with difficulties in funding cross-border operations.
FDI inflows fell from $1,697bn in 2008 to 1,040bn last year, a fall of 39 per cent. Among the leading recipients of FDI, China and the Netherlands were the only economies not to register a decline. The UN Conference on Trade and Development predicted a modest upturn in FDI this year.
去年，外国直接投资流入从2008年的1.697万亿美元跌至1.04万亿美元，降幅达39%。在主要的外国直接投资接收国中，仅有中国和荷兰没有出现下降。联合国贸易和发展会议(UN Conference on Trade and Development)预计，今年外国直接投资会有温和回升。
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