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Uncertainty and growing concern are becoming the status quo on Main Street, says Chartered Financial Analyst Tom Cammack. To better understand how ordinary people are affected by macroeconomic conditions, he developed a new economic indicator called the C6 Real Misery Index™ (C6 RMI), which provides a broad picture of how the economy is actually performing. A white paper more fully explaining the recent data is available at www.RealMisery.com. Cammack also publishes the bi-monthly newsletter, The Real Misery Monitor.

“Uncertainty has been a powerful force in the economy for several years now,” explains Cammack. “When uncertainty persists, consumer confidence normally declines. Combine that with a volatile stock market and ‘real’ unemployment (the so-called U6 rate which includes ‘marginally attached’ workers) numbers that remain above 10%, and you have a recipe for cautious consumers.” Cammack acknowledges that last Friday’s payroll numbers were better than expected but says “if you dig beneath the surface, you will see many of those jobs are low-paying retail service jobs. While those jobs are better than none at all, they are not the sign of a strong economy.”

With the C6 RMI, positive numbers indicate greater misery. Since January 2014, the C6 RMI has been creeping upward. In August 2015, the index moved back into positive territory. At press time, the reading of +4.0 was over 10 points higher than the same period last year. Cammack’s leading economic indicators are telling him there is a high likelihood the C6 RMI will keep moving up over next six months. “There are clear signs economic growth is struggling to stay positive, not only in the U.S., but globally as well.”

The first “misery index” was created by economist Arthur Okun, an advisor to President Lyndon Johnson in the 60s. Okun calculated the sum of two variables – unemployment rate and inflation rate – to characterize current economic conditions from the perspective of an average consumer. A falling index indicated an improving economy, and vice versa.

“The best strategy in times like these is to avoid rash decisions, save money when possible, and stay informed.” According to Cammack, “The Real Misery Monitor is designed to provide a very affordable option for the average person to keep up with changes in the C6 RMI, the outlook for the future direction of the index, and the outlook for the gold price.”