An Amazon warehouse in Joliet, Ill. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
The United States is now the second-most competitive economy in the world, climbing to an eight-year high in global rankings, according to an analysis published Tuesday by the World Economic Forum.
The latest edition of the Global Competitiveness Report, an annual ranking of 137 economies based on data from international financial institutions, moved the United States up from the No. 3 position to second place, just behind Switzerland.
Singapore, the Netherlands and Germany rounded out the top five spots.
“The strength of the United States comes from its performance in efficiency enhancers and innovation and sophistication factors,” wrote economists Klaus Schwab and Xavier Sala-i-Martín for the WEF, a Swiss group focused on promoting growth worldwide.
China crept up the rankings, as well, inching from 28 to 27, thanks to technological advances and reduced barriers to starting a business in the country.
India moved from 39th place to 40th but showed improvements in infrastructure and education, with more students connecting to the Internet, the report said.
The United States leads much of the world in higher education, job training, quality of companies, market size and technological capabilities. However, the country lags behind when scored for health and primary education, landing in 29th place, the report said. Australia, Canada, Belgium and Estonia all fared better in that department.
And the United States comes in at 83rd place for its macroeconomic environment, down from 71st last year, the index shows — a reflection of continued slow growth since the Great Recession.
China, the world’s second largest economy after the United States, received a ranking of 17th for its macroeconomic environment.
“Successfully meeting institutional challenges relating to both public and private institutions, improving the macroeconomic environment and investing in human capital — particularly in the areas of health and primary education — will …read more
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A rooftop covered with solar panels in February at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York. (Mark Lennihan/AP)
More than 52 million Americans live in economically distressed communities wracked by poverty, poor education and declining work opportunities. Most of those communities are in the South. And people in those communities die an average of five years earlier than their neighbors in more prosperous areas.
Those are among the key findings of a new national ranking of economic distress and prosperity released Monday by the Economic Innovation Group (EIG), a bipartisan research and advocacy organization founded by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Sean Parker and a small group of investors. The ranking incorporates seven different measures of economic health, including rates of education, housing vacancy, workforce participation, poverty, income, employment and new business creation.
The EIG considers communities to be distressed if they score in the bottom fifth of this ranking, and prosperous if they’re in the top 20 percent.
“New businesses — or lack thereof — are perhaps the central feature of local well-being,” said Kenan Fikri, an EIG researcher who co-authored the report. Prosperous communities are gaining new businesses while struggling ones are losing them. This has spillover effects on everything from housing to employment to health.
At the state level, Minnesota (46 percent) and Utah (47.4 percent) lead the nation in the percentage of state residents living in prosperity. In West Virginia, by contrast, just 3.1 percent of residents live in prosperity.
At the county level the data shows a clear pattern, with distressed communities concentrated in the southern half of the country.
But economic distress isn’t exclusively a southern phenomenon. While struggling communities in the South tend to be small and rural, the North and Midwest are home …read more
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