La amenaza del desempleo

NUEVA YORK – Los datos recientes sugieren que las condiciones del mercado laboral no están mejorando en los Estados Unidos y otras economías avanzadas. En EE.UU. se proyecta que el índice de desempleo, que en la actualidad es un 9,5%, supere el 10% para cuando llegue el otoño. Debería llegar a un pico del 11% en 2010 y mantenerse bien por sobre el 10% por un buen tiempo. Superará el 10% en la mayoría de las economías avanzadas también.

Estas cifras de pérdidas de empleos, incluso con lo malas que son, en realidad no reflejan completamente la debilidad actual de los mercados laborales. Si se incluye a los trabajadores parcialmente desempleados y los trabajadores que, desmotivados, se han restado de la fuerza laboral estadounidense, por ejemplo, el índice de desempleo llega al 16,5%. En la mayoría de los países, el estímulo monetario y fiscal ha hecho poco por reducir el ritmo de la pérdida de empleos. Como resultado, la renta laboral total (la cantidad de empleos multiplicada por las horas trabajadas multiplicada por los salarios promedios por hora) ha caído radicalmente.

Más aún, muchos empleadores, buscando distribuir de manera más uniforme las penurias de la recesión y bajar la cantidad de despidos, están pidiendo a sus trabajadores que acepten reducir tanto sus horas como sus salarios por hora. Por ejemplo, British Airways pidió a los trabajadores que trabajen un mes completo sin paga. En consecuencia, el efecto total de la recesión sobre la renta laboral de los empleos, horas y reducciones salariales es mucho mayor.

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