Performance overview: France
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France remains stable this year (moving up one spot to 21st). Its largest improvement is in the innovation and sophistication subindex (15th, up five), although the underlying score improvements are small. The macroeconomic environment (67th) is improving but still weak: although the budget deficit has been reduced, government debt is approaching 100 percent of GDP and inflation is near zero. Relatively low levels of efficiency of both the goods and labor markets have traditionally weighed down competitiveness in France. In a move that should ultimately boost competitiveness, the French government pushed through wide-ranging labor market reforms in July 2016 against considerable opposition. Going forward, France will need to ensure that its talent base does not erode: the GCI data suggest that France’s capacity to attract and retain talent has deteriorated since last year (51st, down nine, and 86th, down 23, respectively); this includes the availability of scientist and engineers, although the talent pool is still relatively large in this case (26th overall).