A record 6.6 million people applied for unemployment benefits this week as the coronavirus crisis forced the biggest number of layoffs around the U.S. in history, a roughly 83-sigma event and one which visualized looks as follows:
Updated: Initial jobless claims as number 1/2 pic.twitter.com/VoQ3hye1LT— 📈 𝙻𝚎𝚗 𝙺𝚒𝚎𝚏𝚎𝚛 📊 (@lenkiefer) April 2, 2020
And with JPMorgan now predicting a 7mm print next week, the bedrock of the US economy - plentiful jobs - is suddenly imploding, as the latest google searches for "Unemployment benefits" shows.
Which reminded us that in times of stress, Google trends is a wonderful resource into what is on people's minds. SEMrush, a data analytics company, has been tracking Google search volume and found the public’s curiosity over the "doomsday" items exploded between February 20 and March 20, 2020: “unemployment” grew by 400% and, similarly, “recession” grew by 376%.
Here are some other phrases that triggered spikes in online search activity, which show that the global financial crisis of 2008 was a simple garden-variety slowdown by comparison, and that what is taking place now is nothing short of a depression:
“How do I file for unemployment”: Since March 14, there has been a 900% increase in search volume
“Will i get fired”: Since March 19, there has been a 233% increase in search volume
“Can I file for unemployment online”: Since March 13, there has been a 614% increase in search volume
“When will I get my unemployment check”: Since March 20, there has been a 104% increase in search volume
“What if I can't pay my mortgage”: Since March 12, there has been a 104% increase in search volume
“How can I pay my rent”: Since February 4, there has been a 194% increase in search volume
Finally, in addition to jobs, there's money. Or rather, there isn't: searches for "Business Loans" have exploded, and they will surge more if the banks don't figure out how to make the small and medium business bailout loan available to all.
But it's not just America - the entire world is scrambling for funding - Jamaicans are the most interested in a business loan with a Google search popularity score of 100. South Africa comes second with a score of 59 followed by Nigeria with a score of 56. Other countries with more interest in business loans include Australia (54), Singapore (49), India (47 ), New Zealand (43), UK (42) Pakistan (42) and the United States (40).
The above hardly needs much commentary: not only the US, but the entire world is rapidly sliding into depression. The only question is just how will global government make sure this crisis, the biggest in our lifetimes, does not go to waste.