Regional highlights: North America
The United States ranks 3rd for the third consecutive year, while Canada ranks 15th. However, the evolution of how the two countries rank on various pillars sheds light on the forces shaping competitiveness among advanced economies at the forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Both the United States and Canada outperform the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) country average overall and on most pillars, although the OECD average beats the United States in areas such as macroeconomic performance and health and primary education (Figure 16). The United States lags behind Canada in the quality of institutions, macroeconomic environment, and health and primary education. Canada’s largest disparities with OECD countries are in business sophistication and innovation. The large domestic market in the United States represents a major source of competitiveness advantage over other advanced economies.
Since 2007, the United States has been falling behind both in absolute and relative terms in infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, and goods market efficiency. It has improved, however, on health and primary education, higher education and training, and especially technological readiness, one of the most essential pillars for taking advantage of new technologies.
Canada, on the other hand, has improved marginally in all efficiency enhancers, with markets for goods, labor, capital, and human capital remaining among the best-ranked of the OECD countries. However, Canada lags behind on innovation and business sophistication, which are especially central for advanced economies.
In the United States, innovation and business sophistication have improved; in Canada, they have deteriorated and could be slowing down productivity improvements. However, the business community in the United States is increasingly concerned about basic determinants of competitiveness such as infrastructure.