The most striking findings in the report to someone already familiar with this kind of country level data, are that:
(I) Job growth in areas requiring superior ability is high, whereas there is almost no growth in other sectors (see figure below and figure 1.3 in the report). The biggest decline in jobs is in manufacturing-related areas, which are characterized by low, but not the lowest, scores. The number of menial jobs, characterized by the lowest scores, held their own. In other words, in developed countries jobs for factory workers declined while maids, gardeners and servants held their own... a grim future of income inequality based on cognitive ability?
(Difference between mean scores of skilled and "elementary" occupations is about 1 population SD -- Table A3.19. This is about the same as mean score difference between college graduates and those that did not reach upper secondary education! Table A3.9 (l))
(II) Scores on numeracy and literacy showed high correlations: 0.8 -- 0.9 in every country. This is much higher than, for instance, M and V correlation on the SAT.
Here are national score ranges for math skills:
This figure shows that Japanese high school graduates have better literacy skills than Italian college graduates. There is plenty more data like this. Interestingly the standard deviations in scores for Japan and Korea are on the low end compared to other countries.
Roughly every fifth Finn and Japanese reads at high levels (Level 4 or 5 on the Survey of Adult Skills). This means, for example, that they can perform multiple-step operations to integrate, interpret, or synthesise information from complex or lengthy texts that involve conditional and/or competing information; and they can make complex inferences and appropriately apply background knowledge as well as interpret or evaluate subtle truth claims or arguments. They are also good at numbers: they can analyse and engage in complex reasoning about quantities and data, statistics and chance, spatial relationships, change, proportions and formulae; perform tasks involving multiple steps and select appropriate problem-solving strategies and processes; and understand arguments and communicate well-reasoned explanations for answers or choices.How does someone who can't do these things obtain a good college degree? If only 20% of Finns and Japanese can do these things (the largest fraction among all nations), what fraction of US students are ready for serious college work?