A majority of Harvard Business School graduates surveyed say that the U.S. cannot stay competitive globally while also maintaining high wages at home.
More than half (58 percent) of the more than 6,800 surveyed said both cannot be maintained over the next three years. One in four said neither pay nor competitiveness will suffer a decline, with at least one or both improving.
"We've got great strengths, but the strengths are weighed down by weaknesses that are getting worse," Jan Rivkin, a Harvard professor running the project with Professor Michael Porter, told The Wall Street Journal. The upshot? The pessimism has waned since last year's survey.
Meanwhile, the number of U.S. workers filing applications for jobless benefits rebounded last week, though numbers so far this month have been distorted by technical factors.
Initial jobless claims — which are a measure of layoffs — were up by 46,000 to a seasonally adjusted 388,000 in the week ending Oct. 13, the Labor Department said on Oct. 18. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast 365,000 new applications for jobless benefits last week.
In the previous week, jobless claims dropped by 27,000 because of an unexpected shift in seasonal reporting by one state. That state, California, reported fewer claims than expected, which accounted for the large decrease. According to the Labor Department report, there were nearly 5,000 fewer layoffs in the service and retail industries in California for the week ending Oct. 6.
The Labor Department sets seasonal factors well in advance based on historical trends, but that can skew numbers when state-level reporting does not match those established patterns.
The four-week moving average of claims – which smoothes out volatile weekly data – rose by 750 to 365,500.
The U.S. labor market has been slow to recover since the recession, with steady but unspectacular job growth and high unemployment. The unemployment rate dropped to 7.8 percent in September, the lowest level since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009, but still well above figures from previous decades.