Move Over Depression, Economic Anxiety is Here

As your psychologist will tell you, depression and anxiety often strike in tandem, and apparently those sources of emotional distress don’t limit their impact to just people. CNBC is now reporting that the Money Anxiety Index, “which uses traditional economic metrics as well as other factors to gauge the level of consumers’ worry regarding their personal financial condition,” has reached its highest levels in thirty years. Economist Arthur Okun: Top 15 Countries on the Misery Index>>

In addition, the index will reportedly double dip into a recession of its own if current trends continue over the next two months. Dan Geller, chief research officer for Money Anxiety, thinks the index may project a gloomy outlook for the larger economy, “If this trend will continue for a couple more months the likelihood of a double-dip recession is very high. Pretty much the main reason is uncertainty about the prospects of an economic recovery. People feel it in their personal life, in the increasing Consumer Price Index, the unemployment situation, housing. Overall, all those conditions pretty much lead to a lack of confidence in the recovery.”

The Money Anxiety Index was developed as an offshoot of the wider-known “Misery Index” which combines unemployment and inflation numbers to produce a gross number that represents the misfortune of the American middle class. The measure gained wide popularity in the stagflation periods of the 1970s, and economists and journalists are starting to pay more mind to it again as they seek to draw comparisons between present day conditions and economic downturns in the past.

The misery index currently sits at 12.7, its highest level since the brief recession in the early 90s under Pres. George H.W. Bush.

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