The United States jumped six places to retake the top spot in an annual ranking of global competitiveness by the World Economic Forum, ahead of Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, and Germany.

This year's higher ranking was the result of greater efficiency in U.S. markets, more technological innovation, and a "first-rate system of universities and research centers," Xavier Sala-i-Martin, a Columbia University economist who co-editor of the report, said in a statement.

The annual ranking is based on publicly available data, along with a survey of more than 11,000 business leaders in 131 countries.