Hal Varian has a paper out on Google Trends predicting changes in New Claims for Unemployment Benefits. I haven’t actually read it yet but the post announcing it was so exciting that I went ahead and downloaded some data.

I am sure Varian has much more to say but this initial run was just too cool not to post


The blue line is people actual New Claims data, unadjusted for seasonal changes. The red line is the relative number of people searching for “Unemployment Benefits.” There may be a better search query but this is the first thing that occurred to me.

The relationship between the curves is so striking. This is just people searching for the term “unemployment benefits!” This is not adjusted by news items which might effect the number of searches. It also not a more concentrated search like “how to file.” I will read and post more later but this is just too cool!

I have to repeat, the red line has not been adjusted or econometrically fit in any way. This is a simple raw query! Imagine the possibilities!

HT: Econbrowser

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