U.S. flagAfter losing the top spot to Switzerland last year in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report, the U.S. no longer even ranks among the top three.

While Switzerland kept its top ranking in this year's report, the U.S. fell two places to fourth position, overtaken by Sweden, which moved up two spots to second place, and Singapore, which remained in third place. Rounding out the top five is Germany, which kept its ranking.

The World Economic Forum defines competitiveness as the "set of institutions, policies, and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country. The level of productivity ... sets the sustainable level of prosperity that can be earned by an economy." The index used to evaluate national competitiveness measures 12 variables: institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication, and innovation.

Growing Weakness

The U.S. has "many structural features that make its economy extremely productive" such as its university system, business sector R&D, sophistication and innovation, as well as its sheer size. But "a number of escalating weaknesses have lowered the US ranking over the past two years." The report notes the "macroeconomic imbalances that have been building up over time," as well as the "weakening of the United States' public and private institutions," and the "lingering concerns about the state of its financial markets."

Globally, economic activity in developed economies has remained sluggish with persistent unemployment and weak demand, the report notes. And there are other concerns such as sovereign debt sustainability in Europe and financial markets' stability. "The present situation emphasizes the importance of mapping out clear exit strategies to get economies back on a steady footing. Yet charting out such a process remains elusive in many countries for fear of a 'double dip' as well as for political considerations."

Meanwhile, most developing economies fared relatively well, with countries such as Brazil, China, and India expected to grow at rates of between 5.5% and 10% in 2010. "Indeed, the world increasingly looks to the developing world as the major engine of the global economy," the report notes. China, moved up two spots to rank 27, and continues to lead the way among large developing economies.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Building Credit from Scratch

Start building credit...now.

View Course »

Banking Services 101

Understand your bank's services, and how to get the most from them

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

41 Comments

Filter by:
pheart

Bush. Cheny Rove and their croonies Raped our country, stole our homes and jobs and has caused all of the severe problems we are now facing. In light of what they have put us through, Socialism looks like a bright light at th end of the tunnel. The republicans who buy in to their crooked and 'mafia-type" ways are greedy bastards who need to be sent out of the cuntry SAFTER they are made to return the billions they stole from us. 10-2 says they have invested it in Dubai and it's subsidiaries, like Chey has gotton the billions in bids from "companies" he owns or has major interest in like BP, Blackwater, Hallyburton, AEG, and hundreds others to "cover up" their greed, cheating and Gross abuse of the USA's resources. They have stlen jobs, homes, income, and have really RAPED and pillaged our country and they all (CEO's included that took hundreds of millions for themselves--likened to Rove Cheney, Ken Lewis, et.el) NEED to be rotting in jail or worse for Crimes against this country!!!!!

September 09 2010 at 10:23 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ca2474

drcjp1 , cause they are about a tenth the size of the usa moron lol. man open your eyes. bro , that scolcilistic crap isent working in america, or didnt you get the memo that the pepole are rejecting it? take a look in novemeber when the scum budget busters are out of office....

September 09 2010 at 6:08 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
drcjp1

I can not see how this can be correct! How can a SOCIALISTIC country like Sweden be more competative than the US. They have universal medical care, long paid vacations, high social security, and high taxes. I bet they do not even have the income spread the US has to encourage competativeness. Further I can not believe Switzerland or Germany can be in the top 5 with all their socialized medicine. What am I missing here?

September 09 2010 at 4:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
beemerboxer

Our economic downturn can be attributed to wasted resources on war, squandering of surplus funds, union stupidity and corporate America who outsource millions of jobs to the banana nations now overtaking us. We endure the enemies within and eventually we will be asking Pakistan for aid!

September 09 2010 at 4:07 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
badguysnightmare

WOW! Ya think? Taxes, union wages and general business distain in our country by the liberal left make it impossible for the USA to be competative anymore. Companies have to send jobs out of the country in order to compete. Thats just the facts. Democrats in general and their philosophy of governing and business is killing business and the overall economy!

September 09 2010 at 4:06 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Meadhh

We are weak because of poor leadership and self absorbtion. This Anti-American 90%of minorities receiving welfare and entitlements voted for. Thank you, you Anti-American minorities. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!!!

September 09 2010 at 4:03 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Meadhh

We are weak because of poor leadership and self absorbtion. This Anti-American 90%of minorities receiving welfare and entitlements voted for. Thank you, you Anti-American minorities. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!!!

September 09 2010 at 4:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
drbuckles

If you want to understand where America's competitiveness went the last 30 years you need to read the book Cornered by Barry Lynn, if you really want too. It's not just trade laws but its Walls Street and traders like Charles Icahn who buy corporation with debt, and then strip that corporation of it wealth by making it pay for the debt. I've seen and lived it. Look at Germany they are growing at 9% and we are at a piddling 3% with unemployment at 15% or more. You are being sold out for profits on Wall Street.

September 09 2010 at 4:02 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
lagrange

America had a good run. Historically speaking America has contributed more in the area of innovation than every other country combined. And we did it in less than 250 years. On the other hand, we also exported a culture of ignorance, needless wars, and an appetite for mindless consumption that has taxed the planet beyond what is sustainable. Overall, I'd say our reign brought more good than bad, and I doubt a different empire would've done any better.

September 09 2010 at 3:47 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
drbuckles

Isn't the problem now with jobs juxtaposed to the rights of corporations hindering jobs growth in this country due to being monopolies in their sectors????????? Since 1983 antitrust laws have not been enforced so now they control their sectors and the trade laws in this country allowing them to set up in foreign countries, bank in the Cayman Islands, and allowed to buy new competition with debt. This is not pro American policy or good for competition for US companies when monopolistic corporations have more power to control capital for their benefit over Main Street.

September 09 2010 at 3:47 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply