One rich repository of predictive data is Web searches, said Hal Varian, Google Inc.'s chief economist. Jumps in such queries as "unemployment office" and "jobs" can help predict increases in initial jobless claims, he said. Other search terms, he added, can anticipate traditional data on travel behavior and sales of cars and homes.Using Google Trends, I decided to try it out for some key terms. Click on any image to see a larger version.
Google searches for "housing bubble" within the United States. Notice the spike at the 2005 housing bubble peak, followed by the long-term downtrend since then.
Google searches for "real estate" within the United States. Notice the annual cyclical pattern, as well as the long-term downtrend since 2005.
Google searches for "foreclosure" within the United States:
Google searches for "recession" within the United States: