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U.S. Infrastructure Misses Top 10

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

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The U.S. is falling behind 11 other economies in the latest global ranking of infrastructure competitiveness.

While the nation's overall competitive strength has climbed the rankings two years in a row, reaching the number three spot this year, its infrastructure—one of 12 "pillars of competitiveness" evaluated—lags in the 12th spot, according to the 2014-15 edition of The Global Competitiveness Report.

Released annually by the World Economic Forum, the report ranks the competitiveness of 144 economies.

Global Competitiveness Report
©iStock / ispyfriend

While the U.S. ranked third overall for global competitiveness, its infrastructure rated only 12th.

Overall, according to the report, growth in advanced economies is picking up, and the "recovery in the United States seems to be comfortably grounded with strong output and employment figures."

12 Pillars

The report, which has been running for over three decades, studied and benchmarked the factors that underpin national competitiveness.

The ranking is based on the Global Competitiveness Index, which crunches country-level data for 12 categories, or pillars of competitiveness.

These pillars are defined as "the set of institutions, policies, and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country."

Ranking Infrastructure

One of the 12 pillars is infrastructure.

According to the report, "[e]xtensive and efficient infrastructure is critical for ensuring the effective functioning of the economy, as it is an important factor in determining the location of economic activity and the kinds of activities or sectors that can develop within a country."

Infrastructure was divided into two main categories: transport infrastructure and electricity and telephony infrastructure. In the overall infrastructure pillar, the U.S. was ranked at 12.

In transport infrastructure, the U.S. ranked ninth.

U.S. transportation infrastructure ranking
©iStock / narvikk

The U.S. ranked 16th in overall transport infrastructure: ninth in the air transport subcategory and 16th for roads, 15th for railroads, and 12th for port infrastructure.

For the subcategories within transport infrastructure, here's how the U.S. ranked for quality of:

  • Overall infrastructure: 16
  • Roads: 16
  • Railroad infrastructure: 15
  • Port infrastructure: 12
  • Air transport infrastructure: 9
  • Available airline seat kilometers: 1

Leading the infrastructure pillar were Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates. For the transport infrastructure subpillar, the rankings reversed: The UAE was first, followed by Singapore and Hong Kong.

Overall Rankings

For the sixth consecutive year, Switzerland topped the overall Global Competitiveness Index, ranking in the top 10 of eight pillars.

Singapore ranked second overall for the fourth year in a row and was in the top three of seven pillars.

For the second year, the U.S. went up in overall rankings, holding the third position.


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Economy; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Infrastructure; Latin America; North America; Program/Project Management; Transportation

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