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US falls to 5th slot in economic competitiveness survey; Swiss stay on top
GENEVA (AP) ' The United States has tumbled further down a global ranking of the world's most competitive economies, landing at fifth place due to its massive deficits and declining public faith in government, a global economic group said Wednesday.
The announcement by the World Economic Forum was the latest bad news for the Obama administration, which has been struggling to boost the sinking American economy and lower an unemployment rate of more than 9 percent.
Switzerland held onto the top spot for the third year in a row in the annual ranking by the Geneva-based forum, which is best known for its exclusive meeting of luminaries in Davos, Switzerland, each January.
Singapore moved up to second place, bumping Sweden down to third. Finland moved up to fourth place, from seventh last year. The United States was in fourth place last year, after falling from No. 1 in 2008.
The rankings, which the forum has issued for more than three decades, are based on economic data and a survey of 15,000 business executives.
The forum praised the United States for its productivity, highly sophisticated and innovative companies, excellent universities and flexible labor market. But it also cited "a number of escalating weaknesses" such as rising government debt and declining public faith in political leaders and corporate ethics.
Switzerland held its top rank, the forum said, due to "continuing strong performance across the board" with innovation, technological readiness, even-handed regulation and having one of the world's most stable economic environments.