Google Searches Provide Insight Into Public's State of Mind

Las Vegans are preoccupied with negative economic words such as "unemployment," "foreclosure," and "bankruptcy." That's what can be gleaned from the Internet word search tool Google Insights.

Since 2004 Las Vegas ranks second in the nation to New York City in the relative volume of Google searches using the word "unemployment," not surprising given Southern Nevada's double-digit jobless rate. Rounding out the top five are Portland, Ore., Philadelphia and Seattle. Search volume nationally rose sharply in late 2008, which was a year into the Great Recession, and peaked in mid-2010, which was a year after economists officially declared that the national recession ended.

A closer look at the Las Vegas metro numbers shows that Google searches of "unemployment" fell sharply after peaking in mid-2010.

Only Miami tops Las Vegas in the frequency with which the word "foreclosure" is searched on Google. Tampa and Orlando, Fla., and Atlanta round out the top five. As a search word, "foreclosure" peaked in early 2009 after rising steadily over a two-year period. Nevada has been the nation's home foreclosure epicenter since the beginning of the Great Recession but Florida has also had one of the weakest housing markets.

Las Vegas metro searches of "foreclosure" on Google peaked in late 2009 and are now about equal to the relative volume of searches in mid-2007, before the Great Recession was officially underway.

The Las Vegas metro area leads the nation in the relative volume of "bankruptcy" searches on Google. National searches of that word peaked in mid-2009 and then steadily declined.

Las Vegas Google users were preoccupied with "bankruptcy" from early 2009 through late 2010 and still search that word more frequently than before the Great Recession began.


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