WASHINGTON — The misery index hit the worst level since May 1991, according to a new analysis released today by the Campaign for America’s Future. New jobless numbers jumped to a 5-year high of 6.1 percent, pushing the misery index to 11.7 percent. The index hit double digits in June 2008 for the first time since 1993.
“Honest people who work hard for a living are struggling to make ends meet,” said Robert Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future. “The misery is felt at the gas pump and the grocery store and it’s getting worse, not better.”
The misery index is a gauge of economic well-being widely used by economists for decades. It represents the sum of the unemployment and inflation rates. Since unemployment and inflation are undesirable, the lower the index, the better.
The misery index played a role in the 1980 presidential election when President Reagan reminded voters that stagflation increased it to more than 20 percent. With unemployment and inflation on the rise, the misery index is important again.
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KEY ECONOMIC FIGURES
–Unemployment rate: 6.1 percent
–Inflation rate: 5.6 percent
–Misery index: 11.7 percent
[SOURCES: ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/suppl/empsit.cpseea1.txt; ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/special.requests/cpi/cpiai.txt; http://www.miseryindex.us/indexbymonth.asp]