United States

2016 business cost index


Country ranking

10th / 10

United States, GDP per capita: US$54,629 (2014), GDP growth rate: 2.4% (2015), Unemployment rate: 5.0% (Q4/2015), Inflation rate: 0.7% (2015)
Locations12016 indexRank12014 indexRank1
United States100.010100.09
Chicago, IL98.39799.187
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX96.28396.866
Los Angeles, CA100.8105100.596
New York City, NY104.7110103.6104
1  Overall results for the country and cities. Rank for United States is relative to 10 countries in both 2016 and 2014. Ranks for cities are relative to 111 cities in 2016 and 107 cities in 2014.
Sectors2016 indexRank22014 indexRank2
Digital services100.010100.09
R&D services100.010100.09
Corporate services100.010100.09
2  Rank is relative to 10 countries in both 2016 and 2014.
Cost factors3
  • Strong appreciation of US$ relative to most other currencies
  • Increase in leasing costs for industrial facilities
  • Decrease in freight costs, for both surface and air
  • Increase in utility costs for electricity
3  Significant cost trends between 2014 and 2016.
Exchange rate sensitivity4Rank5
20% appreciation20% gain against all currencies610
20% depreciation20% decline against all currencies69 (tie)
4  "What if" sensitivity scenarios based on appreciation or depreciation relative to the US dollar.
5  Rank among 10 countries assuming equal appreciation/depreciation of all currencies relative to the US dollar.
6  For 20% appreciation: US$1 = AU$1.67, CA$1.61, €1.09, ¥145.73, MX$20.11 and £0.79.
For 20% depreciation: US$1 = AU$1.11, CA$1.07, €0.73, ¥97.15, MX$13.41 and £0.53


National results for the United States reflect the combined results for the four largest US metro areas: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas-Fort Worth. Business costs in these four cities are quite diverse, with a total cost spread of 8.5 percentage points separating low cost Dallas and high cost New York City. Since 2014, business cost increases have been more restrained in Chicago and Dallas, resulting in lower cost indices for these cities, while higher cost increases in Los Angeles and New York City have pushed up their cost index results.


Among the four study sectors, the current high value of the US dollar consigns the United States to last place ranking in all four sectors. Manufacturing represents the sector where the US sees the lowest cost gap to other countries, with a 5.0 percent gap between the US and both Germany and Japan. However, the manufacturing sector has the lowest cost differentials between countries, with fixed costs for machinery, commodity parts and components making it more difficult to close a cost gap in this sector.

Cost factors

The surge in value of the US dollar relative to all other currencies in 2015 is the primary driver of the drop in rankings for the US and its cities in 2016. However, other cost trends, including cost increases noted in the table, also contribute to the overall results for the United States in the current study.

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