By Albert N. Milliron, Managing Editor, Iron Mill Interactive Media Inc.
Anyone who was a near or at adulthood in the late 1970s and into the 1980s remembers the Misery Index. The Misery Index was reported monthy as the job and inflation numbers arrived each month.
Recently, The Misery Index made a resurrection after the Unemployment rate remained above 9% for an extended period of time. Investors Business Daily began reporting the numbers in the last few months. Based on the calculation UE -9.1 +ROI= 3.8= MI 12.9.
Some additional background. The current index is at its highest since 1983 During the Reagan administration.
Economy: What’s a six-letter word that describes what you get when you combine spiking jobless claims and rising inflation? Answer: M-I-S-E-R-Y. And as new reports show, Obama is dishing out heaping portions of it.
The two reports out of the Labor Department are troubling enough on their own. Jobless claims hit 428,000 last week, up 11,000 from the
week before, the highest level in months and, naturally, unexpected. And inflation in August was up 3.8% over last year, also higher than forecast.
These reports also point to a more worrisome trend. With unemployment stuck at a stratospheric 9.1% — and giving no signs of coming down soon — inflation is now climbing. The current annual rate is more than twice where it stood in January. Combine the two, and you have a Misery Index of 12.9 — up 21% this year and a stunning 64% since Obama took office.
To put the current index in some historical context: (1) it’s higher than any time in the past 28 years, (2) it’s 36% higher than the post-World War II average of 9.5 and (3) there have been only nine years in the past 63 when the annual Misery Index topped 12.9 — all in the inflationary 1970s.