Thailand is the world’s happiest country, and Venezuela is the most miserable – this is the result of Bloomberg’s newly released Misery Index which ranks 65 countries globally and was released on March 3.
Of course, “happiness” can have a lot of different indicators and definitions. Bloomberg’s methodology is based on just two economic measures and calculated by adding together the forecasts for a country’s rate of inflation and unemployment. A higher score indicates more “misery.”
Bloomberg notes that Thailand topping the new list and also repeatedly being the “least miserable country” in the past years is “in large part due to its unique way of calculating employment,” as well as its stable and healthy inflation rate of around 1.5 per cent.
The results come despite other studies saying that Thailand is among the world’s societies with the most unequal wealth distribution and the ASEAN nation stuck deepest in the middle-income trap.
But with official unemployment rates of below one per cent for the most part since 2011, Thailand’s jobless rate is among the lowest in the world. This has mainly to do with the fact that the agricultural sector absorbs many labourers, and those who cannot find work always look for jobs in the informal sector or do something on their own. since there is not much of an unemployment insurance system in Thailand and no incentive to stay jobless for long.
The informal sector of the Thai economy, comprising anyone who is not covered by formal work arrangements, accounts for an estimates two-thirds of the total workforce. It includes street vendors and taxi-motorbike drivers, the self-employed and those operating in gray areas of the economy. They are largely counted as employed.
With regards to the Misery Index, one major change in 2017 is that Vietnam has joined other Asian neighbors in the group of the world’s happiest economies thanks to its low inflation and unemployment.
The country made its debut in the list this year at number 12 globally. The expanding index did not feature Vietnam and several other markets last year.