lmost half (48%) of the top executives of U.S.-based multinationals said the country lost ground during the past five years in terms of its economic competitiveness with other countries and in educating its people to meet global business challenges (46%). Contributing to the United States’ poor showing were the heavy cost of worker health care and pensions (65%), the lag in manufacturing efficiency (38%) and the lack of available skilled workers (30%).
Many of the executives said their own companies or industries in particular were negatively affected by increased government regulation (63%), manufacturing’s shift to low-wage countries (51%), the availability of lower-priced goods from abroad (44%) and the greater education and skill levels of workers in other countries (42%).
Only 24% of the corporate leaders, however, pointed to underlying economic factors, such as the U.S. budget deficit and increased U.S. indebtedness to Far Eastern countries, as being responsible for setbacks in their companies or industries.
Source: “Management Barometer,” PricewaterhouseCoopers, www.barometersurveys.com , 2006.