Thursday, July 16, 2009

Getting Ahead of Initial Jobless Claims

Have you ever wanted to get ahead of data before the official release to the street? Have a play based on the numbers?

The time has finally come. After doing some backtesting, some content has been geared up and ready for release. Today’s trend: using Google to predict where seasonally adjusted job claims will turn… with 88% confidence.

Consumers turn to the search engine juggernaut to indicate interest in topics that have been on their minds, making it the world’s largest focus group. One of the most interested topics of 2009: What do I do if I just lost my job?

Answer: search for filing unemployment. With an R2 of 0.8815, searches for “file unemployment” and “filing unemployment” fall right in line with actual seasonally adjusted Initial Jobless claims for a given week.

It is important to note that the indexing algorithm for Insights for Search readjusts with every new peak in popularity, requiring you to index SA Initial Claims accordingly using the methodology (SA Initial Claimsn / Max SA Initial Claims * 100). Given the values from July 16, 2009 the following model will allow you to fairly accurately predict the movement in jobless claims:

Predicted SA Initial Claims = 5006.2 * (Search Index for Unemployment Filing) + 225,046

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