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Иностранные языки Americans at Work.
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The topic of work in the USA is an interesting one because the statistics don’t always agree with popular general impression about American workers and the American economy. I will try to reconcile these impressions with what we know from some recent statistics. To get you warmed up, let me give you a few questions to think about before I start the first point of our lecture today: Do you think most Americans work in factories that produce goods for domestic use and exportation? Do you think most American women are housewives, or do most of them work outside the home? Do you think people in the USA work hard? If time permits, I’ll deal with each of these points in today’s lecture.

So, then, where do most people in the USA work? If you thought in the manufacturing sector, in other words in factories, you were wrong. It is true that the USA is, and is seen as, a strong industrial power, but statistics reveal that another branch of the economy is even stronger than manufacturing. Instead of dealing with the large figures required when discussing a total U.S. workforce of 125 million people, let’s take a look at 100 hypothetical workers and see where they’re employed.

Of those 100 workers, 16 work in manufacturing, that is, in producing goods. Another 4 work in construction, and 3 work in agriculture, forestry, and fishing. And one out of 100 workers is employed in mining.

You might find the figures for manufacturing and agriculture surprisingly low, and in a sense they are. The US is in fact a leading producer of manufactured goods and agricultural products in the world; however, a surprisingly small number of workers, 16 out of 100 for manufacturing, and only 2 per 100 for agriculture alone, is responsible for this output. The above figures account for 24 of the 100 hypothetical workers we started with. Where do the other 76 work?

Well, a full 76 are employed in what are called the service industries. By the way, the term ‘industry’ often applies purely to production, or manufacturing. Today, however, I’ll use ‘industry’ in its more general sense, any general business activity. Service industries, then, include a wide variety of businesses that provide services rather than produce goods. You know the difference between goods and services, don’t you?

Let’s take a look at the different sectors of the service industries now. Of 76 workers in the service industries, 25 are employed in community, social, and personal services. Community, social, and personal services include doctor’s offices, private hospitals, hotels, computer programming and data processing companies, restaurants, repair shops, engineering companies, and private research facilities. The next largest sector in the service industries, wholesale and retail trade, employs 23 of the 76 people. Wholesale trade involves purchases directly from the producer, while retail; trade is more familiar to us: purchases from department stores, supermarkets, automobile dealerships, and so on.

The next largest sector in the service industries, the government, employs 17 of those 100 hypothetical workers we started with. The best-known government workers are teachers, police, and postal workers, but this sector also includes government officials and administrators, of course. The next sector is finance, insurance, and real estate, in other words, banks and the stock market, some 5,500 insurance companies, and companies involved in the buying and selling of property. 6 of every 100 workers are employed in finance, insurance, and real estate. The last service sector is transportation, communication, and utilities. What does the phrase “transportation, communication, and utilities” make you think of? If you thought of airlines, roads, and railroads for transportation, you are correct.

Communication, of course, includes newspapers, magazines, and books as well as TV and radio broadcasting. And utilities, as you probably know, are companies that provide us with gas, water, and electricity. In the USA, these jobs aren’t part of the government services as they are in many countries; transportation, communication, and utilities are provided by private companies and account for 5 of he 100 workers we began with.

Before we leave our first topic, let’s check to make sure you have all the figures for the 76 workers in the service industries: 25 in community, social, and personal services; 23 in wholesale and retail trade; 17 in government; 6 in finance, insurance, and real estate; and last, 5 in transportation, communication, and utilities.

Before I discuss the work ethic, I’d like to make a slight digression and get back to the question of working women. Would you be surprised if I said that most of the female population aged 16 and over work? As a matter of fact, the actual figure is 58%. The figure for mothers with children under 18 years of age is even higher: 67%. That two thirds of mothers are employed certainly has an economic impact on the country and no doubt influences to some extent the character of the American family. But we’ll look at that in a later lecture.

Now that we’ve taken care of that digression, let’s talk about our last topic: the work ethic. I asked you earlier if you felt people in the USA worked hard. Well, I’m not sure what your opinion is, but a strong work ethic means that workers take their work seriously. Workers with a strong work ethic feel an obligation to work hard, expect little time for recreation, and take pride in doing their job well. Some experts today feel that people in countries like Korea, Japan, Germany, and Taiwan have a stronger work ethic than Americans. According to surveys, however, most Americans do have a strong work ethic, that is, they feel they should work hard. The problem is that they don’t always do so. And the reason they give for not working harder is that they don’t feel they will benefit from the work. Others-like the owners of the company-will benefit instead.

The solution suggested by at least one expert has two parts, both involving incentives, or encouragement. First, it is felt that management should provide more money to workers who work harder. And second, workers should have more control over their work. This control would come about if workers and managers together made decisions that affected workers-decisions about how a job should be done, for example, and how new technology might be used on the job. Most U.S. workers would probably agree that encouragement in the form of more money and more control over their work would improve how hard they work. Well, I see that our time is up. We’ll take up a new topic next time. But if you want to look into the work ethic further, there is a bibliographical reference for a short article you might want to read at the end of the lesson.

1.How many people in the U.S. are employed?

2.What percentage of U.S. workers are employed in the service industries?

3.What is the basic difference between the service industries and manufacturing?

4.Haw many different sectors of the service industries did the lecturer discuss?

5.Which is the largest service sector, and which is the smallest?

6.What percentage of U.S. workers are employed in manufacturing?

7.Which percentage is larger-the one for working women in general or the percentage for working mothers with children under 18?

8.What is a strong work ethic?

9.Why don’t U.S. workers always work as hard as they should?

10.What 2 incentives might encourage U.S. workers to work harder?


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    The topic of work in the USA is an interesting one because the statistics don’t always agree with popular general impression about American workers and the American economy. I will try to reconcile these impressions with what we know from some recent statistics. To get you warmed up, let me give you a few questions to think about before I start the first point of our lecture today: Do you think most Americans work in factories that produce goods for domestic use and exportation? Do you think... [читать подробенее]