Better Than The Google Flu Trend: Unemployment Trends

By now everyone has heard of Google’s new public health initiative, Google Flu Trends. For those of you who haven’t, it is an attempt to predict outbreaks of the flue by looking at the relative popularity of a slew of flu-related search terms. This is a great use of the Google Trends function…but it’s hardly the only utility. We’re using it to track unemployment.

According to Google Trends, searches for “unemployment benefits” are highly concentrated in the New York City area. New York City and Newark are, respectively, the first and third greatest sources for those searches. Rochester, NY is second.

Here’s the full list:


1. New York, NY, USA 2. Rochester, NY, USA 3. Newark, NJ, USA 4. Reston, VA, USA 5. Minneapolis, MN, USA 6. Philadelphia, PA, USA 7. Richardson, TX, USA 8. Seattle, WA, USA 9. Orlando, FL, USA 10. Phoenix, AZ, USA 

Searches for unemployment benefits overall are way, way up. Higher than they’ve been since Google started tracking these things.



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