U.S. No. 5 in Global Competitiveness, Falls Third Year in a Row

(Chuck Kennedy/MCT)

The United States lost ground for the third year in a row in the World Economic Forum’s annual list of national competitiveness. The United States is now in fifth place, dropping a notch, while Switzerland holds the top spot for the third consecutive year.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report ranks countries by factors such as  health and education, institutions, goods and labor market efficiency, technological readiness and innovation.

In this year’s list, Singapore (No. 2) bumped Sweden (No. 3) while Finland (No.4) moved up from seventh place last year. The last time the United States held the top spot was 2008.

Switzerland was ranked highly for its health and education and technological readiness, among other factors. But its “most problematic factors for doing business” included an “inadequately educated workforce” and “inefficient government bureaucracy.”

The most problematic factor for the United States was its tax rates, according to the report. Other factors include “inefficient government bureaucracy,” access to financing, tax regulations, inflation and a “poor work ethic in national labor force.”

On a more positive note, the reported stated, “banks and financial institutions are rebounding for the first time since the financial crisis and are assessed as somewhat sounder and more efficient.”

Northern and Western European nations dominate the top 10 list overall.

Japan is the second-ranked Asian economy at 9th place, after falling three places since last year.

“The results show that while competitiveness in advanced economies has stagnated over the past seven years, in many emerging markets it has improved, placing their growth on a more stable footing and mirroring the shift in economic activity from advanced to emerging economies,” according to the report.

The People’s Republic of China (No. 26) improved by one ranking. Among four other newly advancing economies, or BRICS, South Africa (No. 50) and Brazil (No. 53) moved up while India ( No. 56) and Russia (No. 66) had small declines.


The Global Competitiveness Report, 2011-2012

1. Switzerland

2. Singapore

3. Sweden

4. Finland

5. United States

6. Germany

7. Netherlands

8. Denmark

9. Japan

10. United Kingdom