Ireland moves up to 15th in competitiveness rankings

US retains top position out of 60 economies, followed by Switzerland, Singapore and Hong Kong

Ireland has improved its competitiveness for a fourth straight year, according to a prestigious international ranking, reaching 15th place in the world in 2014.

Ireland was in 17th place last year, and has been rising every year since being ranked 24th most competitive country in the world in 2011.

The United States retained its top position in the world in 2014 out of 60 economies, followed by Switzerland, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The World Competitiveness Yearbook is compiled annually by Swiss-based business school IMD and measures how countries manage economic and human resources to increase prosperity based on statistical criteria and a survey of 4,300 international executives.


'Local context' "The overall competitiveness story for 2014 is one of continued success in the US, partial recovery in Europe, and struggles for some large emerging markets," said Prof Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Centre. "There is no single recipe for a country to climb the competitiveness rankings, and much depends on the local context."

IMD said Europe "fares better than last year" as Denmark (nine) entered the top 10 along with Switzerland, Sweden (five), Germany (six) and Norway (10).

"Among Europe's peripheral economies, Ireland (15), Spain (39) and Portugal (43) all rise, while Italy (46) and Greece (57) fall," IMD said.

It said Japan had moved up three places to 21st position, "helped by a weaker currency that has improved its competitiveness abroad".

Emerging markets "Most big emerging markets slide in the rankings as economic growth and foreign investment slow and infrastructure remains inadequate," IMD said.

"China (23) falls, partly owing to concerns about its business environment, while India (44) and Brazil (54) suffer from inefficient labour markets and ineffective business management."

Among Ireland’s challenges in 2014 identified by the Swiss business school were reducing unemployment and “maintaining focus” on cost competitiveness and public sector reform. It said Ireland was in 10th position in terms of competitiveness when ranked against countries with populations of fewer than 20 million people, versus 11th place last year.