================2022 December================
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The Economic Stress Index in the 4th Quarter of 2022 Was:


Underemployment: 6.63
GDP: 0.95
Household Income: -0.13

[First Version for 2022 Q4]: The Economic Stress Index (ESI) in the fourth quarter of 2022 was 5.81 on a scale of 0 for a strong economy such as in 1999, to a stress above 19.0 in Lockdown Year 2020. The first year of ESI data is 1973.

Underemployment (the U-6) averaged 6.63 in the fourth quarter. Gross Domestic Product (“The Economy”) was 0.95% higher from the same quarter a year earlier. Total Disposal Personal Income minus government money such as Social Security and Unemployment, was down by 0.13% from the same quarter last year.

An economic number that reflects a bad such as Underemployment, adds to the Economic Stress Index. An economic number that reflects a good part of the economy, such as a rising GDP, reduces the ESI. Therefore, the Economic Stress Index for the Fourth Quarter of 2022 adds up as follows:

6.63 is the base number to reflect the average 6.86% Underemployment Rate in the third quarter.

0.95 is subtracted to reflect the 0.95% year-over-year growth in the GDP.

0.13 is added to reflect the -0.13% drop in Disposal Personal Income year over year.

5.81 is the ESI for the fourth quarter of 2022.

“The Economic Stress Index, derived from three broad economic data points (GDP, Employment, and Income), softened in the fourth quarter due to a slower GDP and a flat lining of income,” said ESI creator Yossi Gestetner. “The strongest part of the Index last quarter was employment which is the last to fall in a slowdown and the last to come back in a recovery,” Gestetner said.

(The Disposal Income for this report is line 36 of table 2.6 of the BEA's national income and product account.)


U6 Explanation

The U-6 counts the regular unemployed (known as the official Unemployment Rate or U-3), plus those marginally attached to the workforce (halfway looking for jobs) and also those who have part time jobs because they can’t find full-time jobs due to the state of the economy. This is basically the broadest measure of the unemployment picture in the US. The monthly Economic Stress Index uses a rolling 3-month average of the Seasonally Unadjusted U-6.

GDP Explanation

The percent change in GDP of the latest quarter compared to the same quarter a year earlier. In the Annual section it is the annual percent change in GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the current year compared to the full year before.

Income Explanation

We look at the year over year change in Disposal Personal Income for the monthly report and at Household Income by the Census for the annual report. The monthly report looks at a three-month average, such as this year’s fist quarter compared to last year’s first quarter, while the annual report compares the full year-over-year change. (Until 2020, we used the monthly Household Income data from Sentier Research for the monthly report. However, Sentier stopped releasing it so we are using Disposal Personal Income minus government transfers such as social security payments. The report is released monthly by the Commerce Department.)