Battling over a 35-Hour Week

Germany weighs a dubious proposal to cure Europe's joblessness

For nearly a generation, many West European countries enjoyed very low unemployment. While the jobless rate in the U.S. was seldom less than 4%, the countries of the European Community and Scandinavia had just 2% to 3% unemployment. But since the first oil-price shock in 1973 all that has changed. During the '70s about 20 million new American jobs were created in high-tech fields and service industries. Yet in Europe total employment in 1983 was less than it was in 1973, and unemployment is now above 10% in several countries.

During the past few...

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