Global Report: U.S. Losing Its Competitive Edge

Debt and dwindling faith in public institutions help torpedo America’s ranking in an annual World Economic Forum Report. But hey, at least we’re still ahead of Germany.



The United States has fallen from second to fourth place in The World Economic Forum (WEF)’s Global Competitiveness Report for 2010-2011. Switzerland seized the top spot, followed by Sweden, then Singapore. Germany came in 5th. The report indicates that deficits, debt, and loss of faith in public institutions torpedoed the U.S.’s ranking.

The rankings take into consideration 12 factors: “institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and
primary education, higher education and training, goods market
efficiency, labour market efficiency, financial market development,
technological readiness, market size, business sophistication, and
innovation,” according to the press release. The much-anticipated report comes ahead of the WEF meeting in Tianjin, China, next week.

A stable economy and strong culture of innovation helped Switzerland retain the top spot for the second year, according to the report. And China is a consistent mover, rising from No. 30 in 2008 to No. 29 last year and to 27 this year.

Japan took 6th. Hong Kong, in a heated battle with Singapore to be a major Asian economic hub, came in at No. 11. Singapore ranked third.

Administrative shortcomings and problems in the financial market” caused South Korea to fall three points to 22nd place, and Saudi Arabia ranked ahead of South Korea, at 21st place.

In addition to analyzing publicly available data, the rankings are based on an opinion survey with over 13,000 business leaders in over 130 countries.


About the author

Jenara is an overseas reporter for Fast Company and a freelance writer/producer in Asia, regularly on CNNGo, and a graduate of Harvard and UC Berkeley.