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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Unemployment and online search patterns

One of my current research topics relates to online search patterns and labor market indicators. Of particular interest is the correlation between search patters for social (ex. divorce) and health (stress, anxiety) issues and unemployment as measured by both the rate (monthly) and unemployment insurance claims (weekly).

I started this project earlier this year with my student assistant Kerry Murphy. Kerry gathered a tremendous amount of data relating to search patterns for our predetermined list of social and health issues. Additionally she collected unemployment rate and claims data between 2004 and the present.

Now it is my turn to get to work. Roanoke College is currently on fall break and I am using this time to catch up on some much neglected research time (and blogging). Already there appears to be a relationship between searches for "stress" and "unemployment" (a proxy for the unemployment rate) in the Roanoke-Lynchburg, Virginia region between 2004 and 2012 as you can see in the graphic below.

My econometrics students are currently working on their research projects. I hope to get their feedback on this online search pattern and economic indicator manuscript over the course of the semester.

Any ideas on other search terms, either social or health related, that might be correlated with the unemployment rate or unemployment insurance claims? Send them my way!


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