La esquizofrénica economía de los Estados Unidos

Las noticias sobre la economía de los Estados Unidos que han ido conociéndose durante la primera mitad de marzo trazaban -una vez más- un cuadro que sólo podría ser obra de un esquizofrénico. La inversión real (la inversión ajustada a la bajada de los precios de los productos de tecnología avanzada y de bienes de capital relacionados con la información) siguió avanzando a buen ritmo. La producción y las ventas concordaban con el consenso previsto de un crecimiento real del PIB a un ritmo anual del 4 por ciento o más. Sin embargo, pese a ello, el empleo seguía estancado: la creación neta de puestos de trabajo en los Estados Unidos sigue parada.

Eso no quiere decir que no pueda aumentar el empleo en los Estados Unidos. Unos 300.000 americanos más que hace un año tienen un puesto de trabajo en la educación y en la atención sanitaria: tasa anual de aumento del empleo del 1,7 por ciento. Un cuarto de millón más de americanos que hace un año tiene un empleo en las empresas y los servicios profesionales: tasa anual de crecimiento del empleo de 1,6 por ciento. La lógica de un empleo estancado no es la de que sea imposible añadir puestos de trabajo a la economía americana, sino la de que el aumento de la demanda es insuficiente para crear más puestos de trabajo que los que se pierden.

Resulta fácil de demostrar. El gasto nominal total en los Estados Unidos aumenta un 5,5 por ciento al año. La inflación es de 1,5 por ciento al año y el aumento de la productividad global es de 3,5 por ciento al año. Así, pues, la ecuación es sencilla: 5,5 por ciento - 1,5 por ciento - 3,5 por ciento = 0,5 por ciento. Ese 0,5 por ciento es lo único que queda del aumento del empleo necesario para atender la demanda, dada la tasa extraordinariamente fuerte de aumento de la productividad.

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