Thailand ranked world’s ‘least miserable’ country again

The Land of Smiles was named the least miserable country out of 66 economies ranked by the Bloomberg Misery Index, which assumes that low inflation and low unemployment translates into satisfaction among the populace, finishing in first place for the fourth straight year and just edging out its regional rivals.

In fact, Asian countries dominated Bloomberg’s top ten for least miserable countries. Also included in the top tier were Japan, Hong Kong Taiwan, South Korea and China. The leaders were rounded out by Israel, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Denmark. The number exceeds ten because several countries were tied for their places.

Asian countries also escaped the bottom tier, the list of the ten most miserable countries, while the rest of that group, Bloomberg said, was geographically diverse with Europe, Latin America and Africa represented. Mexico was cited as the country that had made the most progress in relieving its citizen’s misery.

“The Bloomberg Misery Index relies on the age-old concept that low inflation and unemployment generally illustrate how good an economy’s residents should feel,’’ the news and research agency said in posting the results on its website.

“Sometimes, of course, a low tally can be misleading in either category: Persistently low prices can be a sign of poor demand, and too-low joblessness shackles workers who want to switch to better jobs, for instance,’’ Bloomberg said.

Thailand has had persistently low unemployment for many years with many workers in the informal sector of the economy.

Inflation in Thailand has also been consistently low. While Bloomberg has said, in general, that low inflation can actually mean poor demand, private consumption in Thailand has been respectable during the past several years, and consumer confidence has been steadily rising along with business and industrial confidence.

Bloomberg also said that “the results largely signal a global economic outlook that remains bright overall: Economists are penciling in 3.7 percent year-on-year growth for the world in 2018, matching last year’s pace that was the best since 2011, according to the Bloomberg survey median.”