Europe is often perceived to be a continent bound by bureaucracy where jobs go to die, while, on the other side of the pond, the streets are paved with gold and opportunity. The US being, by these accounts, the home of economic growth. But this may not actually be the case.
The number of people in employment in the US in the Noughties actually fell by 0.74% - equivalent to about 971,000 jobs - after growing by 20% in each of the previous two decades. This is particularly bad news considering it marks the first decade employment fell in the States since reliable economic records began. Even in the depression of the 1930s, the US managed to scrape some growth in jobs. And all the positive indicators were there: GDP continued to grow, albeit more slowly than in the 1980s and 1990s. So what went wrong?
The economic slowdown can be blamed for some of its woes - but only to a certain extent. The finger is also being pointed at increased outsourcing to places like Mexico and China - another indicator of the shifting balance of global economic power.