World Competitiveness Yearbook places us in 16th place

AUSTRALIA is too expensive for businesses, its labour force produces too little but at least our economy and legal system are strong.

These were some of the wins and losses for Australia in a report on how well it competed for international investment.

IMD World's plainly-named World Competitiveness Yearbook placed Australia at 16 out of 60 - down one place from 15 in 2012.

On Australia's side: its economy is ranked sixth and finance for businesses ranked fourth in the world.

In international trade it was down at 53 and our prices ranked at 49 - two of our weakest places.

Our rank for worker productivity also slipped from 26 to 51.

The IMD report was released by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia - CEDA - which supplied some of Australia's data.

CEDA chief executive Stephen Martin said Australia had low unemployment and strong growth, making it stable compared with others on the list.

But there was work to be done.

"Areas we should be looking at include positive reforms and support for skills and education, both at a school and tertiary level, and innovation," Prof Martin said.

"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."

At 16, Australia was ranked between Malaysia and Ireland on the chart.

The first five spots were held by the United States at number one, followed by Switzerland, Hong Kong, Sweden and Singapore.

Venezuela was ranked last at 60.

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