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The American economy is a free enterprise system that has emerged from the labours of millions of American workers; from the wants that American consumers have expressed in the marketplace; from the efforts of thousands of private business people; and from the activities of government officials at all levels.

The nation's income and productivity have risen enormously over the past 80 years. In this period, the money for personal consumption tripled in real purchasing power. The gross national product per capita has grown four times, reflecting the growth in worker productivity.

Together all sectors of the American economy produce almost $4,000 million dollars worth of goods and services annually. Their consumption is spread widely. Most Americans consider themselves members of the middle economic class, and relatively few are extremely wealthy or poor.

Despite the fact that the United States government supports many segments of the nation's economy, economists estimate that the public sector accounts for only one-fifth of American economic activity, with the other part in private hands. In agriculture, for example, farmers benefit from public education, roads, rural electrification, but their land is private property to work pretty much as they desire. More than 87% of farms are owned by the people who operate them; the rest are owned by business corporations. With increasingly improved farm machinery, seed and fertilisers, more food is produced each year, although the number of farmers decreases annually.

The bulk of America's wealth is produced by private industries and businesses — ranging from giants like General Motors, which sells $96,371 million worth of cars and trucks each year - to thousands of small, independent enterprises. America has traditionally supported free trade. Some 75% of American products currently face foreign competition within markets in the USA.

In 1990, about 119.55 million Americans were in the labour force, representing 63% of the population over the age of 16. The labour force has grown especially rapidly since 1955 as a result of the increased number of working women. They now constitute more than half of America's total work force. The entry of the "baby boom" generation into the job market has also increased the work force. Part-time employment has increased as well — only about 55% of all workers have full-time, full-year jobs, the rest either work part-time or both. The average American work week is 41 hours.

American industries have become increasingly more service-oriented. Of 12.6 million new jobs created since 1982, almost 85% have been in service industries. They include retail businesses, hotels and restaurants, communication and education, entertainment and recreation, federal and local government, office administration, banking and finance, and many other types of work. Careers in technical, business and health related fields have particularly experienced employee growth in recent years.

Recently unemployment in the USA was calculated at about 7%. The government provides short term unemployment compensation to replace wages lost between jobs. About 80% of all wage and salary earners are covered by unemployment insurance. In addition both the government and private industry provide job training to help unemployed and disadvantaged Americans. At retirement most workers receive Social Security payments plus other private pension payments and personal savings. Nevertheless, about 13% of the population lives below the poverty line.

Although the American economy is not perfect, it does do what is expected of marketplace competition — gives Americans the opportunity to compare quality and prices and to decide what they really want to buy. As a result of the creativity, initiative and hard work which free enterprise has encouraged, the USA has become one of the most prosperous nations in the world.


2. Find in the text English equivalents to the following words and word combinations:

споживач, національний прибуток, особисті витрати, щорічно, електрифікація, безробітний, заробітна плата, страхування, підприємство, заощадження, платежі, межа бідності, роботодавець.


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