That's somber news, considering the U.S. had claimed the first spot on the Forum's list in 2008-2009, the second position in 2009-2010, and the fourth position in 2010-2011.
The Geneva-based organization has issued these rankings for over 30 years, and bases them on a survey of 15,000 business executives along with key economic data.
Top dog economy? Switzerland, for the third year in a row. It earned this position, said the Forum, due to "continuing strong performance across the board" as well as factors such as innovation, technological readiness, even-handed regulation, and having one of the world's most stable economic environments.
Here is the list of this year's top 10 global economies:
- 1) Switzerland
- 2) Singapore
- 3) Sweden
- 4) Finland
- 5) United States
- 6) Germany
- 7) the Netherlands
- 8) Denmark
- 9) Japan
- 10) United Kingdom
The top six most problematic factors identified regarding doing business in the U.S. were: 1) tax rates, 2) inefficient government bureaucracy, 3) access to financing, 4) tax regulations, 5) Inflation, and 6) poor work ethic in national labor force.
"In addition to the macroeconomic vulnerabilities that continue to build, some aspects of the United States' institutional environment continue to raise concern among business leaders, particularly related to low public trust in politicians and concerns about government inefficiency," said the report. "On a more positive note, banks and financial institutions are rebounding for the first time since the financial crisis and are assessed as somewhat sounder and more efficient."
The report also noted that "while competitiveness in advanced economies has stagnated over the past seven years, in many emerging markets it has improved." Growth is being placed on a more stable footing, it continued, and "mirroring the shift in economic activity from advanced to emerging economies."