The Campaign Spot

Dusting Off a Carter-Era Measurement, and I Don’t Mean the Metric System

In January, the month Obama took office, the Misery Index, calculated by adding the unemployment rate to the inflation rate, was 7.9 (7.6 percent unemployment +.3 percent inflation).

In February, the Misery Index was 8.4 (8.1 percent unemployment + .4  percent inflation).

In March, the Misery Index remained at 8.4 (8.5 percent unemployment + -.1  percent inflation).

The unemployment rate for April was 8.9 percent. We will find out April’s inflation rate on May 15.

As usual, I would note that the revised numbers for unemployment can often look different from the initial ones. The change in total nonfarm employment for February was revised from -651,000 to -681,000, and the change for March was revised from -663,000 to -699,000.

UPDATE: Phil Klein notes that “Obama’s deficit forecast for 2009 is based on the assumption that unemployment would average 8.1 percent this year.” We’ll see how the rest of the year shakes out.

At Innocent Bystanders, they look at the chart the Obama Administration used to sell the stimulus and note that unemployment is rising at precisely the rate projected if the stimulus wasn’t enacted. They contended, pretty clearly, that passing the stimulus would keep unemployment at 8 percent.