Lawrence Summers: Less People Searching for "Economic Depression" Now Than in January
Lawrence Summers, in a recent speech to a "Washington Think Tank", stated that he believed the US economy had moved "a substantial distance back from the abyss".
One of the causes for optimism? The fact that less people were searching for "economic depression" on Google now than compared to January of this year.
According to Summers (who is President Obama's top economic advisor), this piece of data from Google bolsters the case that the recession is slowing in the United States.
Now, I'm all about using Google as a way to identify trends - I do it everyday with my business.
However, I'm also not using this data to help reassure people about the economy.
When I first read this story, a few things immediately popped into my mind:
1. If searches for "economic depression" have decreased dramatically since January, might this be because most people now know what the term means?
I mean, are people really less concerned about an economic depression now than they were in January of this year? I'm not sure. It's not like we are seeing a robust recovery in the economy right now.
2. Maybe people are just tired of talking and reading about our current economic woes? This is a very real possibility.
I think back to the popping of the dot-com Internet bubble in 2000.
Many Americans that were absolutely fascinated by the stock market just a few months previous were now completely avoiding financial news channels such as CNBC.
Is the same thing happening today? Are people just tired of hearing about the possibility of a depression? This is different than being increasingly optimistic about the state of the economy.
Now, Google searches can be an important indicator of new trends - there is no denying that.
However, should one of President Obama's top economic advisors be using this data to try to make people feel better about the economy?
I'm not so sure. What do you think?
Source: AP - Summers: Economy has moved back from catastrophe
Filed under: The Economic Meltdown