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Aug. 6, 2020, 3:09 p.m. EDT

America is more miserable than Russia, China, Mexico and dozens of other countries, survey shows

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By Shawn Langlois, MarketWatch

It's miserable out there!

A shocker, this is not.

Considering the amount of sick and out-of-work citizens navigating the battered U.S. economy, the latest results from Bloomberg’s Misery Index , which “relies on the age-old concept that low inflation and unemployment show how good a country’s residents feel,” pretty much sums up 2020.

The U.S. fell a whopping 25 spots — more than any other country — to No. 25 on the index. Only Iceland, Israel and Panama even came close to that level of deterioration, Bloomberg reported.

Here’s a look at the top and bottom dwellers on the list:


As you can see, Venezuela, Argentina, South Africa, and Turkey held their spots as the world’s four most miserable economies. Venezuela, with its nosebleed inflation figures, has taken the dubious distinction at the top of the list for six years running.

Of course, 2020 was a rough year for everybody, with almost every country on the list more miserable than in the prior year amid expectations of increased unemployment and weak growth.

But it was clearly rougher for the U.S., considering China, where the coronavirus first took hold, saw its position improve by seven spots to be viewed as less miserable.

A rare bit of good news hit on Thursday, with initial jobless claims falling by 249,000 in early August to 1.19 million to touch the lowest level since the pandemic began more than four months ago. The dip came as a surprise and suggests we’re seeing some improvement in the labor market despite another surge in coronavirus cases in many U.S. states.

And there hasn’t been much misery in the stock market lately, with major indexes showing plenty of strength in recent sessions. At last check, the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +1.68% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.98%  were again moving higher in Thursday’s trade, while the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +1.36%  was essentially stuck in flat territory.

US : Dow Jones Global
+456.13 +1.68%
Volume: 183.94M
Sept. 28, 2020 12:22p
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
+107.18 +0.98%
Volume: 1.67M
Sept. 28, 2020 12:22p
+44.95 +1.36%
Volume: 957.64M
Sept. 28, 2020 12:22p

Shawn Langlois is an editor and writer for MarketWatch in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @slangwise.

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