Wrong direction: U.S. competitiveness slipping in global ranking thanks to political rancor
Wake up and good morning. The United States still likes to think of itself as the home of free markets and capitalism. Too bad others in the world don't see it quite that way. The U.S. slipped -- again -- in the World Economic Forum's competitiveness rankings this year, dropping to 7th place from 5th. Download the full report here.
Why do we care? Well, the trend line is down, meaning the U.S. looks like it may be lower next year. After all, the same report in 2008-2009 named the United States No. 1. Dropping to 7th in such a short period of time is distressing.
In a case of impeccable timing, the principal cause of the diminishing competitiveness here happens to be what the country's fixated on last week in Tampa and right now in Charlotte. Authors at the World Economic Forum, a think tank, say the continued lack of trust in our political leaders by the business community. The authors note that lack of trust is "perhaps not surprising in light of recent political disputes that threaten to push the country back into recession through automatic spending cuts." Read more from the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.
Obviously, 7th place is not bad. It's better than Burundi, which ranks last at No. 144. See the entire rankings here.
The report is based on a WEF index that defines competitiveness as the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country.
Here are the top ten countries ranked by competitiveness in 2012, then 2011.
Switzerland is 1st, was 1st.
Singapore is 2nd, was 2nd.
Finland is 3rd, was 4th.
Sweden is 4th, was 3rd.
Netherlands is 5th, was 7th.
Germany is 6th, was 6th.
United States is 7th, was 5th.
United Kingdon is 8th, was 10th.
Hong Kong SAR is 9th, was 11th.
Japan is 10th, was 9th.
-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, Tampa Bay Times