Unemployment, Coupon Searches Mirror Financial Turmoil

February 25, 2009

December 2008 internet searches incorporating the word “unemployment” are up 206% in the US and have tripled since the same period a year ago, while recession-related terms – such as “bankruptcy” and “coupons,”? also show dramatic gains, according to data from? comScore.

Growth in searches relating to the deteriorating job market is most notable, with “unemployment” searches hitting 8.2 million in December,? and those incorporating “unemployment benefits” up 247% to 748,000.

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Terms relating to personal asset situations, including “mortgage” (up 72% to 7.8 million searches), “bankruptcy” (up 156% to 2.6 million searches), and “foreclosure” (up 67% to 1.4 million searches) also grew strongly, comScore said.

Americans are also searching the internet to find ways to save money, as evidenced by the increase in the number of searches for “coupons” (up 161% to 19.9 million) and “discount” (up 26% to 7.9 million).

Unemployment Searchers Skew Younger, Lower Income

To illustrate how different segments of the population might be affected by these economic conditions, comScore examined the demographic profile of those who clicked on a link following a search using the term “unemployment.” The profile of these internet users generally skewed toward those households with a head younger than 35 years of age and households earning less than $50K annually. They were also significantly more likely to use Yahoo, MSN-Windows Live, or Ask.com Search than Google or AOL search.

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“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. “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.”

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