The World Economic Forum's annual Global Competitiveness Report, released on Wednesday, put Italy at a dismal 49th, falling seven places from last year. Neighbouring Switzerland came first, while Germany came a respectable fourth.
The southern European countries were united in weakness. Spain trumped Italy at 35th place, while Portugal came 51st, while is 91st.
An uncompetitive economy allows little room for growth, as demonstrated in a report released on Tuesday by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Out of the eight major economies profiled by the OECD, including France and Germany, Italy is the only one predicted to experience negative growth in 2013.
The country's economy will shrink by 1.8 percent this year, compared to 0.7 percent growth forecast for Germany and 0.3 percent for France, the Interim Economic Assessment found.
Reflecting on the findings, OECD Deputy Chief Economist Jorgen Elmeskov said structural reforms were essential “to make sure recovery takes hold”.
While Italy is trailing behind some European countries, the economy has shown improvement during 2013. In the first quarter Italy's economy shrunk by 2.2 percent, while in the last quarter it is expected to contract by 0.3 percent.