Import growth slowed in May at the nation’s dominant West Coast container ports, as broad changes in the global ocean shipping sector appeared to shift supply chain routes toward the East Coast. The neighboring ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., which handle the largest volume of container cargo among U.S. ports, reported a total of 749,645 loaded inbound 20-foot equivalent units, or TEUs, a standard measure for container cargo, last month. That was a 2.5% increase over the same period last year, pulling back after year-over-year surges of 26% and 12% in March and April.
Economists have long been puzzling over why productivity has downshifted over the past decade, often blaming waning technological innovation for the pullback. New research, though, points to an overlooked culprit: the shortage of credit to many companies that followed the financial crisis. . . Tight credit conditions and balance-sheet vulnerabilities could be responsible for as much as one-third of the productivity slowdown in advanced economies following the 2008 global financial crisis, according to an International Monetary Fund research paper by Gee Hee Hong, Romain Duval and Yannick Timmer. This slowdown has swept across nations like Japan, the U.S. and France.
Unemployment dropped last month to its lowest level since 2001, yet wage growth is below levels seen in the late stages of previous economic expansions and underemployment remains above the lows of the previous cycles. These dissonant readings point to an increasing mismatch between workers’ skills and the roles employers are seeking to fill, a conflict measured by the Beveridge curve, which tracks the relationship between unemployment and job vacancies. The higher level of the curve since the 2008 crisis shows the workforce isn’t entirely satisfying the need for skills that have become more important in the postrecession economy.
Chief executives of America’s largest companies say failure to pass sweeping tax-policy changes soon could damage hiring and investment.
But they remain optimistic for now about the prospects for tax reform and deregulation under the Trump administration, said members of the Business Roundtable, who released an updated outlook Tuesday.
Freshmen and seniors at about 200 colleges across the U.S. take a little-known test every year to measure how much better they get at learning to think. The results are discouraging.
At more than half of schools, at least a third of seniors were unable to make a cohesive argument, assess the quality of evidence in a document or interpret data in a table, The Wall Street Journal found after reviewing the latest results from dozens of public colleges and universities that gave the exam between 2013 and 2016. (See full results.)
At some of the most prestigious flagship universities, test results indicate the average graduate shows little or no improvement in critical thinking over four years.