Oct. 18 (UPI) -- The United States is ranked number one this year in economic competitiveness, the World Economic Forum said in its annual analysis.
The Global Competitiveness Report, released Wednesday, tracks the economic health of 140 countries based on 12 pillars of competitiveness with government institutions -- which include infrastructure, labor market, financial system, health and education skills and innovation capacity.
The United States has moved up the list from No. 3 over the last few years and is now on par with its ranking a decade ago before the financial crisis.
The Switzerland-based World Economic Forum is a nonprofit institution that engages private and public cooperation worldwide.
The 671-page report said the United States ranks at the top in three of the 12 criteria pillars -- labor market, financial system and business dynamism. It ranks second in innovation capability and market size.
The new research, however, points to rising income inequality in the United States over the last four decades.
"In the United States, where the [inequality] increase is among the highest, the share of income accruing to the richest 1 percent of the population has more than doubled to about 20 percent over the past 30 years, while the share attributed to the middle class has fallen," it states.
The report also said there's room for improvement in security, as the United States has a homicide rate "five times the average for advanced economies." The United States also has "relatively low checks and balances (40th place), judicial independence (15th place) and transparency (16th place)."
"The country also lags behind most advanced economies on the health pillar -- a consequence of the country's unequal access to healthcare and broader socioeconomic disparities," it continues. "Healthy life expectancy is 67.7 years, three years below the average of advanced economies, and six years less than Singapore and Japan."