IRELAND has slipped one place in a global ranking of competitiveness.
Hit by its beleaguered finances, the country fell from 27th to 28th place in this year's Global Competitiveness Report of 148 economies, which was topped by Switzerland.
Ireland's overall ranking was massively impacted by the country's economic stability and its financial landscape.
"The country's macroeconomic environment continues to raise significant concern (134th), showing little improvement since last year," said the report."
Of related and continuing concern is also Ireland's financial market (85th), although this seems to be tentatively recovering since the trauma faced in recent years, and confidence is slowly being restored.
The fall in competitiveness came despite a strong performance from individual categories like education. In the same year that saw global scrutiny of Ireland's corporation tax policies, the country was ranked first in the world for the impact of its foreign direct investment rules on business. It also came first for judicial independence. Ireland's healthcare and primary education systems came sixth, while its higher education and training environment was ranked 18th. The study also highlighted the country's "sophisticated and innovative business culture, buttressed by excellent technological adoption".
The report was compiled by the World Economic Forum, the Geneva-based body most famous for gathering politicians and billionaires at an annual shindig in the Alpine resort of Davos. The same economies made the top 10 as last year, but in a different order. Switzerland kept its title as the world's most competitive economy for the fifth year running, but the Forum said it needed to resist any temptation to protect its core banking sector if it wanted to stay at the top.
Singapore and Finland remained in second and third place. Germany, the US, Hong Kong and Japan all edged up while Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK all slipped by two or three notches. The move reversed a four-year downward trend, although serious concerns remained over its macroeconomic stability.