This study adopts a dynamic approach to compute the level of economic distress in Nigeria. Quarterly series from 2002Q1 to 2016Q4 were utilized in computing the index. Leveraging on the expectations-augmented Phillips curve and Okun's law, the results obtained indicate a minimum and maximum misery values of 16.92% (2007Q3) and 53.42% (2016Q4), respectively, with an average value of 31.49% over the study horizon. The index recorded a skewness of 0.31% indicating moderate level of asymmetry and a kurtosis of 3.26% indicating that the index is leptokurtically distributed with an approximate standard deviation of 8.00%. This implies the presence of appreciable level of volatility. A plot of crude oil price with the misery index overall shows that as price increased, the misery index decreased but in some instances, increase in crude oil price was consistent with increased misery. The persistent insecurity and militancy activities may have accounted for the observed puzzling co-movement. The computation also indicates that decrease in expected variation in inflation, results in increased unemployment by 61.0 per cent decrease in the variation in expected inflation associated with a unit change in the variation between the potential and actual rates of unemployment over the study horizon, which confirms theoretical expectations. On the whole, the results suggest that economic well-being in Nigeria has worsened over the years, especially between 2013Q3 and 2016Q4. The study, therefore, recommends sustained policies aimed at diversifying the revenue base of the economy away from heavy dependence on crude oil. This has the capacity to obviate the hardship occasioned by the fall in oil price and reduction in oil production.
economic distress index expectation-augmented Phillips curve inflation modified Okun's law puzzle co-movement