Sunday, June 07, 2009

More on Google Trends: Searching for the Jolly Green Giant?

The Economist Blog reported in April that Google Trends showed a decline in news reference volume for all three of the terms “Great Depression,” “credit crisis,” and “layoffs.” They asked whether this suggests that the worst is behind us, and whether we can expect a pending economic recovery?

Experimenting with these keywords now shows that the decline in news reference (and search) volume has continued. However, it is possible that media operators could provide less coverage of a recession, even though it continues (the question may be: what sells newspapers?). Also, people may not search for information about a recession, even though it is happening around them (sticking one's head in the sand?).

Another approach is to experiment with keywords like "recovery" and "economic recovery". The latter has a spike in search (and news reference) volume on February 10th, when the U.S. Senate passed President Obama's economic recovery plan. The former has been trending upward in news reference volume since the start of the year.

It's difficult to say anything about so-called "green shoots" using this data; at the very least we know that Obama harnessed a lot of attention at the start of February with his plan for economic revival.

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