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America first: The US is the most competitive country in the world

Lianna Brinded
Head of Finance, Yahoo Finance UK
America first. Photo: Reuters

Amid Donald Trump starting trade wars across the globe, the World Economic Forum just unveiled the United States has reclaimed the crown as the most competitive country in the world.

Every year WEF releases its benchmark Global Competitiveness Report that takes a look 98 indicators across 140 countries to determine the overall ranking. Each indicator uses a scale from 0 to 100, to signify how close an economy is to the ideal state or “frontier” of competitiveness. Those indicators are then organised into 12 pillars, such as health, skills, financial system, infrastructure, and institutions.

In addition, WEF this year used a new methodology to fully capture the new emerging dynamics of what fuels the global economy, which means including some other indicators that were not included before, such as diversity, workers rights, re-skilling, and press freedom.

While the US is the country closest to the frontier of competitiveness with a score of 85.6 out of 100, it is only slightly ahead of Singapore:

Table: WEF

WEF notes that the US’s notable “vibrant entrepreneurial culture” has boosted its labour market pillar, while also contributing to making the nation’s innovation ecosystem one of the best in the world — it’s only the second behind Germany.

“However, there are indications of a weakening social fabric (63.3, down from 65.5) and worsening security situation (79.1, 56th)—the United States has a homicide rate five times the advanced economies’ average,” said WEF in the report. “It is far from the frontier in areas such as checks and balances (76.3, 40th), judicial independence (79.0, 15th), and corruption (75.0, 16th).”

Chart: WEF