“Rather than adjusting to this new normal, countries must step up their efforts to re-accelerate economic growth. There is evidence that, in addition to lower capital accumulation that results from reduced investments, productivity over the past decade has been stagnating and even declining,” said authors led by WEF’s executive chairman, Klaus Schwab, in the report.
“Increasing productivity therefore needs to be at the core of the policy agendas of governments and international organizations.”
As it does every year, the report ranked countries by their relative competitiveness, factoring in governmental institutions and policies as well as the efficiency of the labor market and financial markets. It also considered other facets such as business sophistication and innovation.
Switzerland and Singapore held onto the two top places in the 2015-and 2016 rankings and the U.S. stayed in third place.
Major strengths that helped keep the U.S. competitive included its cutting-edge business sector, substantial market size and innovation, WEF said. However, it added that the country should be savvy of risks to competitiveness, in particular the appreciation of the U.S. dollar and the much-speculated about end to record-low interest rates.