Key West newspapers have reported that there are fears that Ireland will miss out on the top spot in the world for the first time in more than 50 years.
Key West News published a front-page article on Tuesday saying the country’s position in the global rankings had slipped by a spot, but it also said it expected it would continue to be among the most expensive places in the developed world.
It said the report was based on a range of factors, including the fact that Ireland’s exports have grown rapidly in recent years and that the national debt is increasing.
It added that the recent recession has affected the competitiveness of some sectors, including banking, construction and tourism.
The company said the figures did not take account of any cuts to the Irish economy which it expects to achieve this year.
The Irish Times reported the news ahead of the publication of the results of a new survey by global financial services firm McKinsey & Co.
The report is the latest in a series of reports from McKinsey and other international consultants to suggest that Ireland has a chance of slipping to the bottom of the world’s most expensive list.
McKinsey said in its report that its “new global competitiveness report” forecasts that Ireland would fall from fourth place in the ranking to 14th, down from 17th last year.
Its top 10 global competitiveness ranking is:China (12th), Japan (17th), Brazil (20th), Germany (25th), US (28th), Canada (30th), Australia (33rd), United Kingdom (35th), United States (37th), India (39th), South Korea (42nd), Russia (43rd), Italy (45th), France (48th), Spain (49th), Belgium (50th), Italy and France.
The McKinsey report, published this week, said that Ireland was also likely to miss out from the top 10 in terms of income, the share of national income going to wages, and the size of its working population.
The publication of McKinsey’s latest report came as Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny was in Paris on a five-day visit to meet French President Emmanuel Macron.
Mr Kenny has already said that his country could be in recession by 2021 and has promised to make cuts to public spending in an effort to boost growth.
Mr Macron said that Mr Kenny was a great friend of Ireland and that they shared similar values and that he expected Ireland to grow.