Did Barack Obama have a bad year in 2013? You wouldn’t know it from his pugnacious State of the Union speech. The annual address on the state of the country and the president’s agenda began with a litany of statistics about US economic performance, including one guaranteed to catch some attention across the Pacific:
Here are the results of your efforts: The lowest unemployment rate in over five years. A rebounding housing market. A manufacturing sector that’s adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s. More oil produced at home than we buy from the rest of the world – the first time that’s happened in nearly twenty years. Our deficits – cut by more than half. And for the first time in over a decade, business leaders around the world have declared that China is no longer the world’s number one place to invest; America is.
Obama appears to be referring to this study by consulting firm A.T. Kearney, which finds that for the first time since 2001, China isn’t the world’s favorite destination for foreign direct investment—the US is:
Obama’s larger theme for his speech—the need for a divided US government to unite around pragmatic economic proposals—came with a warning that it won’t be easy for the US to stay at the top of the list: “China and Europe aren’t standing on the sidelines. Neither should we.”