Department of Economics and Business Economics

In Search of a Job: Forecasting Employment Growth in the US using Google Trends

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We show that Google search activity on relevant terms is a strong out-of-sample predictor of future employment growth in the US and that it greatly outperforms benchmark predictive models based on macroeconomic, financial, and sentiment variables. Using a subset of ten keywords, we construct a panel with 211 variables using Google’s own algorithms to find related search queries. We use Elastic Net variable selection in combination with Partial Least Squares to extract the most important information from a large set of search terms. Our forecasting model, which can be constructed in real time and is free from revisions, delivers an out-of-sample R^2 statistic of 65% to 88% for horizons between one month and one year ahead over the period 2008-2017, which compares to between roughly 30% and 60% for the benchmark models.
Original languageEnglish
Place of publicationAarhus
PublisherInstitut for Økonomi, Aarhus Universitet
Number of pages47
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sep 2018
SeriesCREATES Research Papers
Number2018-25

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