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No need to Restore Happiness in Thailand : It’s already there

Olivier Languepin

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Apparently, the military appointed government of Thailand led by general Prayut doesn’t need to worry too much about “restoring happiness” in the country : it’s already there.

The “restore  happiness” team is welcoming a new addition : Bloomberg News. Thanks to Bloomberg economists, we are now aware that Thailand is the “happiest”, or less miserable economy in the world.

Inflation and unemployment, two factors that make consumers unhappy, are remarkably low in the 15 countries shown below, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. While the Swiss National Bank attracted some tumultuous headlines earlier this year, the haven of ski slopes and chocolates still outshines its peers in the survey as a consumer-friendly place to live.

Yes Thailand is above Switzerland, and that is due to a large extent to its very low (0.56%, the lowest in the world, mind you) unemployment rate.

Why is Thailand’s Unemployment Rate so Ridiculously Low ?

0.56 percent. That’s Thailand’s official unemployment rate as of end-2014. It’s among the lowest in the world, and compares with 9.4 percent in India and 6 percent in the Philippines in the region.

This is not a recent phenomenon: Thailand’s jobless rate has held below 1 percent for the most part since 2011. The record high was 5.73 percent in Jan. 2001, when the National Statistical Office first began releasing the data every month. How did it get so low?

“Our unemployment rate has been low not because of a different definition from other countries, but because of structural problems,” said Bank of Thailand spokesman Chirathep Senivongs Na Ayudhya. “The agricultural sector absorbs laborers and those who can’t find work can always look for jobs in the informal sector or do something on their own.”

So your can read further an other story of Bloomber giving much more realistic insights about this Thailand’s Unemployment Rate is a Ridiculously Low 0.6%. Here’s Why

More than 40 percent of Thailand’s population is engaged in agriculture, where there is a high degree of underemployment and off-season unemployment. The underemployed are counted among the employed and make up about 0.5 percent of that total.

If, for instance, you lose your job as a bank teller and return home and lend a hand at your dad’s farm for at least one hour a week, you are considered as employed.

via The 15 Happiest Economies in the World – Bloomberg Business.

And now “Les Misérables”

The three countries that will probably see the most economic misery in 2015 — South Africa, Argentina and Venezuela — haven’t budged much from their 2014 rankings, when they occupied three of the top four spots, the data showed.

miserablesbloomberg

At 78.5 percent, the estimated CPI inflation rate in back-to-back, most-miserable Venezuela more than quadruples Ukraine’s inflation rate. The dire shortage of basic goods in Venezuela last week prompted neighboring Trinidad & Tobago to offer a tissue paper-for-oil swap.

Five years after investors popularized the term “PIIGS” to describe a handful of European countries with bloated budget deficits, four of those five countries remain in dire straits, according to their projected misery indexes.

Greece is 5th, Spain is 6th, Portugal is 10th and Italy is 11th in this year’s ranking, though each show about average projected income levels relative to survey peers. (Ireland happily sits further down the chain at No. 16 in the misery ranking and with a much-better-than-average GDP per capita of $48,787. The 51 economies in our misery index average GDP per capita of $31,079.)

Bangkok Correspondent for Siam News Network. Editor at Thailand Business News

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