Canada ranked 6th-most miserable country by think tank

By Jeff Labine. Published on Jan 18, 2022 11:20am

Due to its high rates of inflation and unemployment, a conservative-leaning think tank has ranked Canada the sixth-most miserable country in the world.

On Tuesday, the Fraser Institute revealed where 35 countries rank on its Misery Index, an economic measure based on inflation and unemployment rates.

With its Misery Index score of 10.88, Canada was the sixth-most miserable country, thanks to its 3.15 per cent inflation rate and 7.7 per cent unemployment rate in 2021.

Spain was the most miserable, with a score of 17.61, followed by Greece with 15.73, Italy with 11.96, and Iceland with a score of 11.26.

Japan and Switzerland were the least miserable countries, with scores of 2.61 and 3.57, respectively.

France, the U.S., Australia, and the U.K. were all deemed less miserable than Canada.

“Canadians are rightly concerned about the country’s high inflation and unemployment rates, and, when compared to other developed countries, Canada is not doing well,” said Jason Clemens, the Fraser Institute’s executive vice-president.

Ideally, a health economy scores six to seven per cent on the Misery Index, according to Balance, a personal-finance website.

The index fell out of Canadian favour in the 1990s after the country brought inflation under control, the Fraser Institute says.

“The fact that we are again discussing the Misery Index and Canada’s high ranking on it is bad news for all Canadians, who will suffer as a result,” Clemens said.

“Governments across Canada, particularly the federal government, should prioritize policies that will make Canadians less miserable by lowering inflation and unemployment,” he continued.

In 1991, Ottawa and the Bank of Canada introduced inflation-control targets. The bank’s job is to either raise interest rates to cool inflation or cut them to encourage spending and borrowing.

In December 2021, Ottawa renewed its five-year monetary-policy agreement with Canada’s central bank to keep inflation at the two per cent midpoint of the one-to-three per cent range.

The House of Commons’ Finance committee is studying Canada’s high inflation rate, which rose to an 18-year high of 4.7 per cent in November. Canada’s unemployment rate over the past 10 years has averaged around seven per cent, except in 2020, when it rose to 9.5 per cent because of the pandemic. Canada’s highest unemployment rate on record was 12 per cent in 1983.

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