US tops global competitiveness rating, despite 'worrying' trends - WEF

Clay Curtis
October 18, 2018

New Zealand dropped down two positions from previous year.

The United States is the world's most competitive economy, according to a newly styled World Economic Forum (WEF) report on the global economy.

Among the BRICS economies, China topped the list at 28th place with a score of 72.6, ahead of the Russian Federation (65.6, 43rd), India (62.0, 58th), South Africa (60.8, 67th), and Brazil (59.5, 72nd).

The country was ranked lowest in product market at 102nd, business dynamism at 101st and skills at 97th.

This year's report studied how 140 economies fared when measured against 98 indicators organised into 12 pillars, including institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, business dynamism and innovation capability.

Venezuela was ranked last in more than one category in the study, with the socialist nation being deemed the most corrupt, with the least future-prepared economy on the list.

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The top five countries were the U.S., Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, and Japan - all of whom saw their scores increase in 2017, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The Netherlands has gone down from fourth to sixth place after being overtaken by Germany and Japan, the latest edition of the rankings show.

The report aimed to offer each economy a level playing field in which to define and track its growth path, focusing on the need for economies to be holistic in their approach to competitiveness rather than focusing on a particular indicator alone.

WEF founder Klaus Schwab said understanding and being open to the technologies driving the so-called "fourth industrial revolution" was vital to a country's competitiveness.

"With opportunities for economic leapfrogging, diffusion of innovative ideas across borders and new forms of value creation, the Fourth Industrial Revolution can level the playing field for all economies", Saadia Zahidi, a WEF managing board member, said in a news release. It performs less well in the adoption of information and communication technologies (ICT), finishing 31st, while under worker health and financial systems, it ranks well below most of its rich-country peers.

She pointed to the country's low score in terms of participation by women in the labour force, where it ranked 37th, as well as 40th place in terms of press freedom.

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