Misery Index Update

Report: United States Misery Index

Hits High of 13.42

By Steve Rensberry
   EDWARDSVILLE, IL - July 5, 2020 -- Recent data from the U.S. Misery Index, compiled in May 2020, lists the current U.S. economy at 13.42 on the scale, just one step behind the last major high of 19.72 during the Jimmy Carter Jr presidency. To be fair it has not been a normal year, but the numbers are sobering nevertheless.
   The Misery Index is calculated by combining the unemployment rate with the inflation rate, with the most recent rate derived from an April unemployment rate of 13.3 and an inflation rate of 0.12.
   The Trump administration has fared better in terms of yearly Index averages since 2016, benefiting from an economy on the upswing, but this year has not been good. The first three years of Trump's presidency saw Index values of 6.49 (2017), 6.34 (2018), and 2019 (5.44).
   One group critical of the current administration, in particular its handling of the coronavirus threat, has created a Trump Misery Index, which it says is a composite measure of the current unemployment rate, the current inflation rate, the aggregate number of COVID-19 cases in the United States and the aggregate number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States.
   "The Trump Misery Index is calculated by combining the total number of COVID-19 deaths and cases divided by 1,000 and then adding the sum of the current unemployment and inflation rates," the group states. See: Lincoln Project Trump Misery Index
   The last four years of the Obama administration averaged 8.83 on the Index, with the numbers for each year as follows: 8.86 (2013), 7.80 (2014), 5.40 (2010), and 6.13 (2016). The Obama administration gets credit for reducing the index from 10.15 in 2012 to 5.4 in 2015, before rising to 6.13 in 2016.
   Administrations with the five highest Misery Index numbers have included four Republican administrations and one Democrat, those being the administrations of Gerald R. Ford (12.66), George H. W. Bush (10.07), Richard M. Nixon (17.01), and Donald J. Trump (13.42). The Index hit its highest however, under Jimmy Carter Jr., (19.72).
   The Index's all time high was in June 1980 at 21.98. The all-time low was in July 1953, at 2.97.