U.S. and Canada Make Strides in Bloomberg 2019 Innovation Index

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. moved back into the world’s top 10 in Bloomberg’s most-innovative economy ranking this year -- 12 slots ahead of its closest regional competitor -- Canada. Only six nations in the Western Hemisphere are ranked among the 60 countries.

The U.S. rose three spots to eighth overall, reflecting the strength of its patent activity and high-tech density, where it was ranked as best in the world for both. The U.S. also obtained a top 10 ranking in research and development intensity and in productivity. Deficiencies in education, ranked 43rd, and as a byproduct researcher concentration, ranked 28th, hurt the U.S. in its overall ranking. Five years ago, the U.S. ranked third in the global index.

Tertiary enrollment and graduation rates in the U.S. are strong, but the U.S. suffers in that students are not obtaining science and engineering degrees in sufficient numbers. Only 14 percent of graduates are obtaining science and engineering degrees -- the lowest among G7 countries. To look at this another way, over the last decade, China almost doubled the number of professionals, including postgraduate PhD students, engaged in research and development by 2.1 million to 3.9 million overall -- a 10-year increase that is almost 10 times that of the U.S.

Five years ago, the U.S. ranked No. 37 in tertiary education efficiency and No. 12 in researcher concentration; this year it fell to 43rd and 28th, respectively.

In a world where the "21st century will be won and lost over control of innovative technologies" as Bloomberg economist Tom Orlik noted, this does not bode well for the U.S.

Canada advanced two spots in the annual index to break into the top 20 for the first time in three years. Canada scored among the top 10 countries in patent activity.

Brazil, the largest country in both South America and Latin America, returned to the list this year in the 45th spot. Brazil’s strongest showing came from the research and development sector, where it ranked 27th globally. Research and Development in Brazil account for 1.28 percent of its economy, on par with Italy, the third largest economy in the euro-zone.

Argentina, Chile and Mexico made their debuts in the annual Bloomberg index, at 50th, 58th and 59th, respectively, as enough reliable data became available for the final index members to expand to 60 from the previous year’s 50. Chile’s top score was in education efficiency.

The Bloomberg Innovation Index, now in its seventh edition, analyzes dozens of criteria using seven metrics, including research and development spending, manufacturing capability and concentration of high-tech public companies.

U.S. and Canada Make Strides in Bloomberg 2019 Innovation Index

The 2019 ranking process began with more than 200 economies. Each was scored on a 0-100 scale based on seven equally weighted categories. Nations that didn’t report data for at least six categories were eliminated, trimming the total list to 95. Bloomberg publishes the top 60 economies.

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