For those of you interested in the broader world and how business conditions stack up between countries the World Economic Forum's The Global Competitiveness Report, 2012–2013 (PDF file, 7.9MB) is now available.
Their concept of competitiveness is based on '12 pillars':
First pillar: Institutions
The institutional environment is determined by the legal and administrative framework within which individuals, firms, and governments interact to generate wealth.
Second pillar: Infrastructure
Extensive and efficient infrastructure is critical for ensuring the effective functioning of the economy, as it is an important factor in determining the location of economic activity and the kinds of activities or sectors that can develop in a particular instance.
Third pillar: Macroeconomic environment
The stability of the macroeconomic environment is important for business and, therefore, is important for the overall competitiveness of a country.
Fourth pillar: Health and primary education
Poor health leads to significant costs to business, as sick workers are often absent or operate at lower levels of efficiency. ...workers who have received little formal education can carry out only simple manual tasks and find it much more difficult to adapt to more advanced production processes and techniques, and therefore contribute less to come up with or execute innovations.
Fifth pillar: Higher education and training
...today’s globalizing economy requires countries to nurture pools of well-educated workers who are able to perform complex tasks and adapt rapidly to their changing environment and the evolving needs of the economy.
Sixth pillar: Goods market efficiency
Healthy market competition, both domestic and foreign, is important in driving market efficiency and thus business productivity by ensuring that the most efficient firms, producing goods demanded by the market, are those that thrive.
Seventh pillar: Labor market efficiency
The efficiency and flexibility of the labor market are critical for ensuring that workers are allocated to their most effective use in the economy and provided with incentives to give their best effort in their jobs. ...must also ensure a clear relationship between worker incentives and their efforts to promote meritocracy at the workplace, and they must provide equity in the business environment between women and men.
Eighth pillar: Financial market development
An efficient financial sector allocates the resources saved by a nation’s citizens, as well as those entering the economy from abroad, to their most productive uses. ...the banking sector needs to be trustworthy and transparent, and...financial markets need appropriate regulation to protect investors and other actors in the economy at large.
Ninth pillar: Technological readiness
...the agility with which an economy adopts existing technologies to enhance the productivity of its industries, with specific emphasis on its capacity to fully leverage information and communication technologies (ICT) in daily activities and production processes for increased efficiency
and enabling innovation for competitiveness.
Tenth pillar: Market size
The size of the market affects productivity since large markets allow firms to exploit economies of scale. Traditionally, the markets available to firms have been constrained by national borders. In the era of globalization, international markets can to a certain extent substitute for domestic markets, especially for small countries.
Eleventh pillar: Business sophistication
Business sophistication concerns two elements that are intricately linked: the quality of a country’s overall business networks and the quality of individual firms’ operations and strategies.
Twelfth pillar: Innovation
Innovation is particularly important for economies as they approach the frontiers of knowledge and the possibility of generating more value by only integrating and adapting exogenous technologies tends to disappear. ...it means sufficient investment in research and development (R&D), especially by the private sector; the presence of high-quality scientific research institutions that can generate the basic knowledge needed to build the new technologies; extensive collaboration in research and technological developments between universities and industry; and the protection of intellectual property,
There is lots to think of as one reads about the strengths and weaknesses of various countries.