Lithuania fell from 28th last year to 30th this year due to problems in its job market.
In this year's IMD survey, Lithuania was the second-most competitive economy in Eastern and Central Europe (only the Czech Republic was ahead in 27th place) and the most competitive country in its neighbourhood (Latvia rose 6 places to 37th place, while Estonia and Poland did not move from their positions at 31 and 33, respectively).
In the survey, conducted by the Swiss International Management Development institute, Lithuania took the top spots for communication technology development and the percentage of women in the work force.
However, Lithuania's drop when it comes to the job market is noteworthy. Over the last year, worker productivity has dropped, and survey results about the number of competent managers, the opportunities for experienced foreign workers to participate in our job market, and the foreign experience of local workers have all gotten worse.
The country's greatest progress was noted in the balancing of its budget, the management of the risks involved with an ageing population, and the streamlining of procedures for forming new businesses.
Enterprise Lithuania director Rūta Pentiokinaitė responded to the results by saying “It's good to see that projects to improve the job market and investing climate like 'Startup Visa' are making their way, but to make our small country visible on the world map, individual initiatives may no longer be enough. Lithuania's workforce qualifications and education, dependable infrastructure and economic flexibility are all held in high regard, and it's very easy to start a business in our country. These are all strengths that we must use when creating decisive and innovative solutions in the job market field.”
Some other challenges for Lithuania mentioned by the report included the need to promote scientific research, experimental development and information exchange, to promote export and competitiveness growth (especially among small and medium enterprises), to attract foreign investments, to increase the public sector's productivity, and to invest in high-tech.
Hong Kong leads the pack, with rapid growth in Western Europe
After several years, the leader in the IMD survey has changed. Hong Kong has been named the most competitive economy in the world, with Switzerland in second place and the USA, which had previously been the leader, dropping to third place. According to IMD specialists, Hong Kong's success was boosted by a simple tax environment that encouraged innovations, conditions for free capital movement, and excellent conditions for direct foreign investments near China, a new economic superpower. However, besides Hong Kong, the average position of Asian countries fell in the ratings. The most significant progress was seen among old European countries like Sweden (in 5th place, climbing 4 places from last year), Denmark (in 6th place, climbing 2 places from last year), Ireland (7th place, up 9 positions from last year) and the Netherlands (8th place, up 7 positions from last year).
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