U.S. slips to fourth place in Global Competitiveness Index
The U.S. has slipped from second to fourth in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, supplanted by Sweden and Singapore. The rankings, with Switzerland in first place, factor each nation’s infrastructure, education, health care, record of innovation and more.
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Investors exit stock mutual funds
The exodus of small investors into bond and money-market funds is taking its toll on stock mutual funds. In the past 12 months, 414 mutual funds, most of them stock funds, have disappeared. The number of taxable bond mutual funds has grown slightly, to 1,271.
Students default on loans
Defaults on student loans are climbing, with 7 percent of borrowers in 2008 falling behind within two years of beginning repayment. That’s up from 6.7 percent in 2007. The default rate for students at for-profit schools rose to 11.6 percent from 11 percent.
Workplace discrimination against Muslims rises
Claims of discrimination against Muslims in U.S. workplaces rose to 1,490 last year, up from 1,304 in 2008. The number of workplace-bias claims surpassed the previous high of 1,463 made in 2002, in the wake of 9/11.
Jobs at foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies increase
Employment at foreign subsidiaries of U.S. corporations increased 1 percent in 2008—including a 15 percent gain in China. Domestic U.S. hiring at those same companies fell 2 percent in 2008.
Los Angeles Times
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