When I read FiveThirtyEight’s tweet on the weird pattern in searches for racism

fivethirtyeight: Google search traffic on the term ‘racism’ is weirdly cyclical. http://bit.ly/aTdklZ

I immediately saw a seasonal pattern familiar to economists


Searches crashed during the winter and summer. Just like employment:

FRED Graph

Could it be that people were most interested in racism when they were hiring new employees?

Then I noticed that unlike employment the biggest crash is in the middle of the year, rather than the beginning. The aha made me smile.

The summer layoff of teachers isn’t nearly as large as the after Christmas layoff of retail employees. However, summer vacation is longer for students than winter vacation. It seems racism – as search term at least – is most prevalent in modern American minds when they are learning about it in school.