Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Google Trends and Irish Unemployment: Searching For The "Dole"?

Liam recently mentioned some new research by Google that forecasts unemployment. The Google research notes that one of the strongest leading indicators of economic activity is the number of people who file for unemployment benefits. Google forecast initial claims (for unemployment benefit) using the past values of the time series, and then add Google Trends variables to see how much they improve the forecast. They find a 15.74% reduction in mean absolute error.

The relevant data-source in Ireland is the Live Register. In the comments section of this earlier post, I discuss the various definitions of claims for unemployment benefit in Ireland. Unfortunately Google Trends only provides information on search volume in Ireland for "job seekers benefit" since near the end of the first quarter in this year. There is data on search volume in Ireland for "job seekers allowance" since the start of this year. For the latter term there is spike at the end of the first quarter this year, which may be related to the supplementary budget of April 7th.

There is a longer time series for search volume in Ireland related to the term "dole". This data is available since the end of 2007; there appears to be an upward trend in place since last summer, as shown below.

1 comment:

Liam Delaney said...

interesting Martin - how easy is it to put this data in a spreadsheet from the package?