A New Look At The Misery Index

Since it started, the Biden administration has told Americans that the inflation the U.S. is experiencing is “transitory.” We are never told what current inflation is “transitioning” into. It appears more likely that the government wants us to hear “temporary” when it says “transitory.” After all, “temporary” has to have an expiration date at some point, while “transitory” inflation can go on indefinitely.

Meanwhile, we are told that unemployment is getting much better. Never mind the staggering drops in the labor participation rate.

Some commentators and economists are breaking out a statistical measure we haven’t seen much of lately, the Misery Index. This statistic is simply the unemployment rate added to the price inflation rate, as measured by the carefully manicured Consumer Price Index (CPI). The current U.S. Misery Index is 10.19 percent, based on 4.8 percent inflation and a 5.39 percent CPI.

The Misery Index functions as a rough combination of the effects of inflation and unemployment. Increases in the cost of living added to poverty from lost income can provide a shorthand measurement of the overall health of the country’s economy because both factors that go into the index directly impact the economic well-being of average working Americans.

The current Misery Index of 10.19 percent is not good news for those working Americans. The upward trend could be bad news as supply chain worries continue and the federal government is contemplating injecting many trillions of more dollars into the economy.

Historical trends in the Misery Index indicate that the metric is often affected by the president’s party overseeing the executive branch of government. Before the COVID pandemic hit, President Donald Trump’s administration produced a much lower Misery Index in the 5 to 6 percent range.

As the 2022 midterms and 2024 presidential elections approach, most ordinary Americans should look at the current Misery Index when deciding whether or not to vote for more “progressive” Democrat policies.