ByJohn S. McClenahen According to the World Economic Forum's (WEF) latest numbers, the U.S. this year remains in second place behind Finland in growth competitiveness and slipped to No. 2, also behind Finland, in business competitiveness. WEF's growth competiveness index reflects the ability of an economy to sustain growth over the medium and long term and in 2003 ranked 102 economies. WEF's business competitiveness index is a measure of competitive sophistication within an economy and the quality of the microeconomic environment; in 2003, it ranked 101 economies. WEF noted that the U.S. maintained its second place position in growth competitiveness despite "varying levels" of achievement. "For instance, the country's overall performance is weakened by the quality of its public institutions. And although the United States still leads in the technology index, its overall score dropped, reflecting a reduction in the tertiary enrollment rate and a decline in the number of patents granted." As for America's decline in business competitiveness from No. 1 in 2002 to No. 2 in 2003, WEF cited "concerns about rising trade protection, tightening capital availability, and weakening cluster vitality."