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2/24/2009
05:25 PM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
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Google Searches Measure Economic Misery

Google searches provide insight into the spread of the flu, so it's perhaps no surprise that they also reveal something about our ailing economy.

Google searches provide insight into the spread of the flu, so it's perhaps no surprise that they also reveal something about our ailing economy.According to comScore, Americans' search terms show increasing concern about their financial situation. The metrics firm reports that the number of searches for the term "unemployment" rose 206% in December 2008, compared with the same period a year earlier, and searches for "unemployment benefits" rose 247%.

Rising interest in other search terms related to finances also is reported: In December, there were 72% more "mortgage" searches, compared with December 2007, 156% more "bankruptcy" searches, and 67% more "foreclosure" searches.

"Online behavior has come to reflect the interests or concerns of Americans, and we are certainly seeing this manifest itself with respect to the economic downturn," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni in a statement. "Search volume using terms relating to the economy has ballooned over the past year as Americans have become increasingly concerned over their economic well-being."

When the downturn ends, Google will probably be the first to know.

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