Australia's decline in world competitiveness has steadied, slipping one place from 15 to 16, but the results highlight a disconnect between perceptions of the economy held by Australian business and our international ranking, although there are some dark clouds gathering.
In releasing Australia's 2013 World Competitiveness Yearbook results, compiled from statistical data and a survey of senior business people in each country, CEDA Chief Executive Professor the Hon. Stephen Martin said they show there seems to be a general lack of awareness of how good Australia's economy is performing in a global context.
"In terms of two key indicators, unemployment and economic growth, Australia's economy is strong and stable compared to other countries despite others making significant gains as they continue to recover from the GFC and Eurozone crisis," he said.
"However, the survey results have seen Australia drop from a ranking of five to 19 on how resilient business leaders think our economy is to economic cycles."
Professor Martin conceded while we must remain vigilant and there are certainly areas that need improving, Australia should consider what is happening in countries like Spain and France and adopt a less insular position.
One area for improvement where Australia needs to lift its performance is labour productivity.
"Productivity more generally has improved in the rankings, jumping from 23 to 16, but labour productivity growth specifically has slipped from 26 to 51 of the 60 countries surveyed," he said.
"The key issue is that we are seeing other countries such as China, Argentina and Chile, rapidly improve this measure of economic efficiency.
"While they are not at our levels yet, they are catching up at a rapid pace and we need to look at productivity-enhancing reforms now rather than when we fall behind.
"Areas we should be looking at include positive reforms and support for skills and education, both at a school and tertiary level, and innovation. Innovation is an area where so far, we are seeing little put on the table by either major party ahead of the Federal election in September."
Overall the USA regained top spot this year in the rankings after being outplaced by Hong Kong for the first time last year. The United Arab Emirates moved ahead of Australia to push our ranking out by one.
The 2013 World Competitiveness Yearbook is produced by the Switzerland based IMD World Competitiveness Center with the help of CEDA in Australia and other international partners.
The IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook compares and ranks 60 countries on business competitiveness criteria and is the world's most renowned and comprehensive annual report on the competitiveness of nations.
The World Competitiveness Yearbook is produced by the Switzerland based IMD World Competitiveness Center with the help of CEDA in Australia and other international partners.
The IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook compares and ranks 59 countrieson business competiveness criteria and is the world's most renowned and comprehensive annual report on the competitiveness of nations.
CEDA – the Committee for Economic Development of Australia – is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation.