The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2008-2009 was released today and considers twelve “pillars” of competitiveness: institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, health and primary education, higher education and training, labour market efficiency, financial market sophistication, goods market efficiency, market size, innovation, business sophistication and technological readiness.
The US is listed as #1, with Singapore #5, Japan #9, the UK #12 and Australia eighteenth, ahead of Israel at 23rd and New Zealand at 24.
The US is described in glowing terms despite current difficulties:
Notwithstanding the present financial crisis, the United States continues to be the most competitive economy in the world, a position it has held for several years.This is because the country is endowed with many structural features that make its economy extremely productive and that place it on a strong footing to ride out business cycle shifts and economic shocks.Thus, despite rising concerns about the soundness of the banking sector and macroeconomic weaknesses, the countryâ€™s many other strengths continue to make it a very productive environment.
It’s principally because it’s an innovation driven economy:
The United States is ranked 1st on the innovation pillar, with the worldâ€™s top-rated scientific research institutions, high company spending on R&D (ranked 3rd), and significant collaboration between the business and university sectors in research (ranked 1st).
Australia is doing well too:
Australia, at 18th place, draws its strongest competitive advantages from the excellent functioning of its goods, labor, and financial markets. In terms of financial
market sophistication, the country ranks 3rd for the regulation of its securities exchanges and for legal rights, and 4th for the soundness of its banks. Australiaâ€™s goods markets are characterized by the ease of starting a business: the number of procedures and the time required to start a business are both ranked 1st internationally.And labor markets are very flexible, characterized by significant ease in hiring and firing employees and a lack of nepotism in the business sector by international standards.
Australia also has very strong private institutions, ranked 2nd for the efficacy of its corporate boards and 3rd for the strength of auditing and reporting standards in the country. Higher education and training is also an area of strength, with high enrollment rates at all levels, and very good marks for the quality of the educational system (ranked 9th).
To read the whole report click here.