The Nation: Measuring Misery

Meteorologists use something called a "discomfort index," which combines the temperature and the humidity rate, to tell us how nasty the weather is. Now Congress has hit upon a "misery index" to tell us how nasty the economic climate may be. A rather imprecise tool of the Joint Economic Committee, the index is reached simply by adding the inflation rate to the unemployment rate.

It comes to 14.5 (8.3% unemployment + 6.2% inflation). That represents a drop from 1974's punishing year-end in dex of 16.6, but still marks a stark in crease from 1960, when it was 7.1.

When the index climbs as...

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