Monday, July 23, 2012

Google Trends on Recession

The FT uses the R word this morning:
Estimates of revenue growth for the largest US companies are being scaled back sharply by Wall Street analysts, signalling a mounting risk that the world’s largest economy may enter recession later this year.
“We are fast approaching levels where these estimates are unambiguously pointing to the risk of a US, global recession later in 2012 and into 2013,” said Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx Group.
That led me to wonder if there was any general uptick in discussion of the word "recession".  A graph from Google Trends (above) shows both web search frequency and news reference volume.  There is no recent uptick.  However, things have never returned to the pre-great-recession level and have had periodic spikes of concern - particularly in mid 2011 (with an upsurge in Eurozone fears and also the Republican-initiated debt limit standoff in the US).

It is interesting that at the onset of the Great Recession (now officially dated to December 2007) there was a big spike of both web searches and news reference.  There was also a much smaller rise in web searches and news mention ahead of the recession - indicating some successfully anticipatory discussion.

At any rate, this indicator does not suggest an imminent global or US recession.


Jonathan Byron said...

Is this pro-active (a good leading indicator)? Or is reactive, where a search surge in the word 'recession' only happens after the markets slump and the layoffs start?

Mr. Sunshine said...

Check the results for "bank run" :)