Thanks, Obama! Misery Index At Highest Point Since 1983…

October 20, 2011

An unofficial gauge of human misery in the United States rose last month to a 28-year high as Americans struggled with rising inflation and high unemployment.

The misery index — which is simply the sum of the country’s inflation and unemployment rates — rose to 13.0, pushed up by higher price data the government reported on Wednesday.

The data underscores the extent that Americans continue to suffer even two years after a deep recession ended, with a weak economic recovery imperiling President Barack Obama’s hopes of winning reelection next year.

Inez Stallworth, an underwriting assistant for a financial services company, recently gave up her car, in part because of rising costs for gasoline and groceries.

“I can’t fit it in,” said the 27-year-old Chicago resident, who said most of her extended family was getting by “paycheck-to-paycheck.” Consumer prices rose 3.9 percent in the 12 months through September, the fastest pace in three years.

With gasoline prices high, consumers have less to spend on other things.

Moreover, a rise in overall prices saps economic growth, which is typically measured in inflation-adjusted terms.

The last time the misery index was at current levels was in 1983.

Harold Archie, a bus driver with the Chicago Transit Authority, knows well the toll that unemployment is taking on Americans.

Higher food and gasoline prices have compounded the strain on his finances since his son lost his job.

Archie, 57, has been helping him financially.

Archie said his son might have a shot at getting his job back, but with a pay cut: “And he was only making $13 an hour to start with.”

From:  http://www.cnbc.com/id/44970105

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Thanks, Obama…Misery Index At Worst Level In 28 Years!

June 18, 2011

When it comes to measuring the combination of unemployment and inflation, it doesn’t get much more miserable than this.

In fact, misery, as measured in the unofficial Misery Index that simply totals the unemployment and inflation rates, is at a 28-year high, reflective of how weak the economic recovery has been and how far there is to go.

The index, first compiled during the soaring inflation days of the 1970s by economist Arthur Okun, is registering a nausea-inducing 12.7—9.1 percent for unemployment and 3.6 percent for annualized inflation—a number not seen since 1983.

The index has been above 10 since November 2009 and had been under double-digits from June 1993 through May 2008.

From:  http://www.cnbc.com/id/43441924