So which combine the poorest unemployment and inflation prospects to rank as the most miserable in the world?
The scores below are based on annual averages of monthly or quartely data for 2017 and forecasts for 2018 from Bloomberg surveys, with an average inflation and unemployment rate for each country added together to form a single figure.
Misery value: 15.8
2017 misery value: 16.3
Brazil suffers from high unemployment and inflation lies above 4%, but the picture is improving. Its jobless rate fell consistently in 2017 and ended the year at 11.8%, a 14-month low.
Misery value: 17.3
2017 misery value: 19.2
Spain has one of the highest rates of unemployment in the European Union, and continues to suffer the effects of 2008’s global financial crash. Its prospects are improving: the jobless rate fell in 2017 from a year earlier, and economic growth continued to outstrip the European average despite political unrest in the northern region of Catalonia (pictured).
Misery value: 17.8
2017 misery value: 23.8
Ukraine remains ravaged by a war against Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country, as well as an AIDS epidemic, and high levels of unemployment. Its jobless rate was 9.5% in December, while inflation sat at 1.5%.
Misery value: 20.6
2017 misery value: 22.7
A decade after the 2008 global financial crisis plunged Greece into a catastrophic government-debt crisis, unemployment sits at a staggeringly high 20.9%, or 995,899 people.
Among younger persons aged 15 to 24, the picture is even starker, with 43.7% unemployed.
The government expects the unemployment rate to fall to 18.4% this year, Reuters reports.
Misery value: 20.6
2017 misery value: 22.2
Turkey’s unemployment rate sits at 10.3% as of October 2017, down 1.5%, echoing a global trend towards growing employment. The country’s economy grew 11% in the third quarter of 2017, the fastest rate among G20 countries.
Misery value: 26.4
2017 misery value: 41.7
Egypt’s economy was rocked by events following the Arab Spring which erupted in 2011 and saw the military remove Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi from power in 2013.
Its unemployment rate ticked to 11.3% in the fourth quarter in 2017, down from 12.4% in the same period a year earlier, Reuters reported. Inflation remains rampant at 17% in January, down from 21.9% in December.
Misery value: 27.1
2017 misery value: 36.9
Argentinian president Mauricio Macri was elected in 2015 after pledging to slash inflation and restore economic growth. The economy, shackled by high taxes and trade protectionism, has seen inflation fall to 25% from 40%, but remains shackled by government debt and huge union power,according to the WSJ.
2. South Africa
Misery value: 33.1
2017 misery value: 33.0
South Africa’s jobless rate remains stubbornly high at 26.7%, although the figure is dropping. The country faces vast challenges on different fronts: its president Jacob Zuma was forced to resign on Wednesday after intense pressure from his own party, and its capital Cape Town’s water reserves are so low that the city may soon be forced to turn off its taps.
Misery value: 1872.0
2017 misery value: N/A
Crisis-struck Venezuela marks its fourth year as the most miserable country on Bloomberg’s index by an eye-watering margin. Hyperinflation is the cause.
Plummeting oil prices meant the oil-rich economy went into reverse, and the government former President Hugo Chavez began to run out of money. Price controls, falling imports, dwindling foreign reserves are also tearing the economy apart and driving the number of malnourished Venezuelans up rapidly, CNN reports. Protests are also spreading across the country.
The country does not measure inflation, so its true rate is anyone’s guess. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg see it rising 1,864% this year, while the International Monetary Fund estimates that figure at around 13,000%. You read that right: 13,000%.