Inflation that’s projected to reach an eyeball-popping 8 million percent this year has left Venezuela saddled with the title of the world’s most miserable economy, Bloomberg reports.
The embattled South American nation topped the rankings of Bloomberg’s Misery Index, which sums inflation and unemployment outlooks for 62 economies, for the fifth straight year.
Venezuela and a handful of others in the “most miserable” camp are in a lonely battle fighting high inflation alongside lofty jobless rates. Most other countries’ policy makers this year face a very different challenge: a tricky combination of quiet inflation and lower unemployment that complicates readings on economic health and appropriate responses.
Thailand again claimed the title of the “least miserable” economy, though the government’s unique way of tallying unemployment makes it less noteworthy than Switzerland’s improvement to second-least and Singapore managing to stay in the bottom three. The U.S. moved six spots toward 13th least miserable, and the U.K. improved four spots to 16th least.
The Bloomberg Misery Index relies on the age-old concept that low inflation and unemployment generally illustrate how good an economy’s residents should feel. This year’s scores are based on Bloomberg economist surveys, while prior years reflect actual data.
Sometimes, of course, a low tally can be misleading in either category: Persistently low prices can be a sign of poor demand, and too-low joblessness shackles workers who want to switch to better jobs, for instance.