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Switzerland takes Number one in Global Race for Most Competitive Economy

According to the World Economic Forum, Switzerland has surpassed the United States to become the most competitive economy in the world.

Every year the WEF, based in Switzerland overlooking lake Geneva, publishes a global ranking of the most competitive economies.

This year the WEF noted that Switzerland was characterized by both an excellent environment of innovation as well as a sophisticated business culture.

The WEF also noted that Switzerland had been much more resistant than the US and Europe to the world economic crisis. Further, the problems in the financial sector were much less pronounced in Switzerland than elsewhere in Europe or in the US. In effect, problems in the Swiss bank sector were essentially circumscribed to UBS.

Switzerland also earned its first place for its top research institutes and excellent collaboration between its research institutes and the private sector. Switzerland’s public institutions are among the best in the world and its infrastructure was rated as excellent.

However, the WEF noted that access to university education in Switzerland remains weak – on this criterion Switzerland was rated 46th globally. Even if immigration is allowing Switzerland to compensate for the penury of educated qualified professionals on the Swiss job market, the WEF recommended that Switzerland raise the level of average education to better respond to the needs of an advanced economy.

The WEF’s ranking was a welcome shot in the arm for the Swiss economy, which has nonetheless suffered slowdowns and layoffs in the luxury watch making, textile and hospitality industries.

Among the sectors, flourishing despite the overall economic in Switzerland, the insurance industry remains strong, with an industry unemployment rate below 2%.

The energy sector is also doing very well — every business and sector touching production of electricity, gas, air conditioning, etc – with an industry unemployment of about 1.5%. Another sector oblivious to moroseness is teaching: teachers are practically untouched by unemployment with the sector showing slightly more than 2% of teachers without a job.

Among the professions which appear to be crisis-resistant are managers – there seems to be no end to jobs for managers who can streamline, rationalize, increase productivity, etc. – top IT specialists, and finance professionals. The majority of cuts that some banks have had to make due to strong declines in revenues have not been in trading and finance, and job offers for top financial talent remain strong.

Tangentially, the World Economic Forum is among companies, organizations, and institutions having resisted the crisis, and with its chic campus in Geneva’s ritziest suburb and solid revenue stream of expensive membership fees, is an attractive employer in the Geneva area.

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