"Misery was up around the country in 2008. Market meltdowns, bank blowups and bailouts and cratering home prices often overshadowed the incredibly positive stories of 2008 like the Beijing Summer Games and the historic election of Barack Obama. The highly watched Misery Index spiked as the unemployment rate plus the inflation rate surged to 9.6 in 2008, up from 7.5 the previous year. It was the highest annual level since 1993.
Our own Forbes Misery Measure saw a shuffling of the deck among the top 10 cities, with five new candidates getting a failing grade this year. Topping the charts is Stockton, Calif., which was the runner-up on our list last year. Stockton was ground zero for the housing boom and now the subsequent bust. Home prices more than tripled between 1998 and 2005 and then came crashing down last year.
We compiled our rankings by looking at the 150 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S., which meant those with a population of at least 378,000. We ranked those metros on nine factors: commute times, corruption, pro sports teams, Superfund sites, taxes (both income and sales), unemployment, violent crime and weather."