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Obama Measures Economy By Using … Google Trends?

Posted by Casey on July 18, 2009

Larry Summers - World Economic Forum Annual Me...
Image by World Economic Forum via Flickr

Now we finally know how Obama will measure job creation and jobs saved. It isn’t based on official unemployment numbers, or the number of businesses closing or cutting back. No, no, no … Obama’s measuring economic success based on what you are using Google to search for.

No, I’m not joking.

Of all the statistics pouring into the White House every day, top economic adviser Larry Summers highlighted one Friday to make his case that the economic free-fall has ended.

The number of people searching for the term “economic depression” on Google is down to normal levels, Summers said.

Searches for the term were up four-fold when the recession deepened in the earlier part of the year, and the recent shift goes to show consumer confidence is higher, Summers told the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Summers continued the administration’s push-back against critics of President Barack Obama’s handling of the recession, defending the economic stimulus package against Republicans who have tried to paint the program as a failure because it hasn’t stemmed the unemployment rate.

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There is no way to spin this positively in favor of the White House. To have the top economic adviser to blow off the other stats in favor of highlighting the Google trend search is inexcusable. Is the White House’s plan to say that since 3 million people less are searching for economic depression … they’ve saved or created?

Exit question: Is it possible that less people are doing a Google search for economic depression because less people have the internet as they continue to cut back, lose jobs, and struggle financially?

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2 Responses to “Obama Measures Economy By Using … Google Trends?”

  1. This has to be the stupidest economic metric I have ever heard of. Kudos on the story.

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