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Manufacturing & The Economy

U.S. Manufacturing Competitiveness on the Decline?

Over the next five years, 20th-century manufacturing stalwarts like the United States, Germany and Japan will be challenged to maintain their competitive edge to emerging nations such as China, India and Brazil, according to the 2013 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index report from Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited’s Global Manufacturing Industry group and the U.S. Council on Competitiveness.

The report confirms that the landscape for competitive manufacturing is in the midst of a massive power shift – based on an in-depth analysis of survey responses from more than 550 CEOs and senior leaders at manufacturing companies around the world.

The 2013 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index once again ranks China as the most competitive manufacturing nation in the world both today, and five years from now. Germany and the United States round out the top three competitive manufacturing nations, but, according to the survey, both fall five years from now, with Germany ranking fourth and the United States ranking fifth, only slightly ahead of the Republic of Korea. The two other developed nations currently in the top 10 are also expected to be less competitive in five years: Canada slides from seventh to eighth place and Japan drops out of the top 10 entirely, falling to 12th place.

The report found that access to talented workers is the top indicator of a country’s competitiveness – followed by a country’s trade, financial and tax system, and then the cost of labor and materials. Enhancing and growing an effective talent base remains core to competitiveness among the traditional manufacturing leaders – and increasingly among emerging market challengers as well.

Manufacturing still matters a great deal for the economic prosperity of 20th century powerhouses – and these nations continue to have enough going for them to stay in the game and even thrive.

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