Google Trends search terms for "unemployment" searches versus "claim benefits" searches

Posted on 18th September 2017

Google Trends provides data on the search terms used by people searching on Google. Google Trends provides this by time (at various granularities dependent on the total time period requested), and by country (and by finer granularities in some countries). We have seen from the earlier analysis of searches for “unemployment” that the stuff people search for on Google can indicate certain things about people’s behaviours, intents, and thoughts. In the case of searches for “unemployment” we saw that this was an indicator of the official UK unemployment rate five months in the future.

Interestingly the proportion of searches in the UK involving the terms “claim” and “benefits” has increased significantly from 2008 despite the significant decrease in both the proportion of people searching for terms including “unemployment” and the official UK unemployment rate.

The increase in the proportion of all searches in the UK including the both the terms "claim" and "benefits" is an indication that more people are claiming benefits online, and/or using Google to find out how to claim benefits. It is odd that the proportion seaching for these terms has moved so differently to searches for "unemployment", with which it would have been reasonable to assume some correlation. What I think this indicates is the very significant shift in the last 13 years to people claiming benefits online, as opposed to offline.