In the Olympic Games of the business world, Canada has won a silver medal.
It’s a sizeable jump up from our sixth-place finish in 2013, thanks largely to the health of the consumer base, as measured by the size of the middle class, household consumption, tariffs on imports and GDP per capita.
The low cost of starting a business helped Hong Kong secure the top spot on the list for the third year in a row.
The U.S., meanwhile, fell from second to third place, as the cost of setting up a business shot up considerably relative to other countries.
This is the third year Bloomberg has presented the rankings. The findings are based on the overall business, commerce and trade climate in 157 countries.
Specifically, nations were judged on:
the degree of economic integration
- the cost of setting up a business
- the cost of labor and materials
- the cost of moving goods
- less tangible costs like inflation and the amount of corruption
- the receptivity of consumers
Michael Burt, a Conference Board of Canada director who studies industrial economic trends, said Canada`s world ranking was considerably helped by the broad criteria used to measure success.
“We may not be number one, but when you add it all up, you end up coming in very high on the list relative to other countries that are more uneven on their performance,” he said.
In its own economic report card, the Conference Board gave Canada a ‘B’ and placed it sixth out of 16 countries, noting gaps in income per capita, GDP growth, foreign direct investment and an elevated unemployment rate.
Norway and Australia were the top performers, achieving ‘A’ grades.
Richard Florida, a business professor and director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, suggested that Canada should enjoy the top ranking while it lasts.
“The question is, is that sustainable with a falling loonie and a metastasizing mayoral scandal in its largest city?” he wrote in an email to Yahoo Canada Finance.
The Martin Prosperity Institute recently ranked Canada in 7th position out of 82 nations in its latest edition of the Global Creativity Index (GCI). The index assesses prospects for sustainable prosperity according to conventional measures of economic growth, as well as economic equality, human development, happiness and well-being.
Sweden took first place on the GCI, following by the U.S., Finland and Denmark.
Ireland was among the surprises on the Bloomberg ranking. After four years of gruelling austerity following a bail-out by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, the Celtic Tiger is once-again looking strong with the country moving into 20th place this year from 22 in 2012.
Portugal, another country that has struggled in the post-recession years, landed the 17th spot, up from 30th in 2012.
The BRIC countries all showed much improvement, but none managed to crack this year`s top 20.
Brazil and Russia jumped from 38th (from 61th) and 44th place (from 56th), respectively. India climbed from the 54th position last year to the 48th slot this year.
China's low scores in the 'less-tangible' cost category cost the country plenty. It fell from the 19th position in the ranking's first year to a rank of 28 this year.
Check out the top 10 below:
7. United Kingdom
3. United States
1. Hong Kong