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"Google it!" Forecasting the US unemployment rate with a Google job search index

  • D'Amuri, Francesco/FD
  • Marcucci, Juri/JM

In this paper we suggest the use of an internet job-search indicator (Google Index, GI) as the best leading indicator to predict the US unemployment rate. We perform a deep out-of-sample comparison of many forecasting models. With respect to the previous literature we concentrate on the monthly series extending the out-of-sample forecast comparison with models that adopt both our preferred leading indicator (GI), the more standard initial claims or combinations of both. Our results show that the GI indeed helps in predicting the US unemployment rate even after controlling for the effects of data snooping. Robustness checks show that models augmented with the GI perform better than traditional ones even in most state-level forecasts and in comparison with the Survey of Professional Forecasters' federal level predictions.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/18732/3/MPRA_paper_18732.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 18248.

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Date of creation: 30 Oct 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:18248
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  1. Philip Rothman, 1998. "Forecasting Asymmetric Unemployment Rates," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 164-168, February.
  2. Graham Elliott & Thomas J. Rothenberg & James H. Stock, 1992. "Efficient Tests for an Autoregressive Unit Root," NBER Technical Working Papers 0130, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Fabio Busetti & Juri Marcucci & Giovanni Veronese, 2009. "Comparing forecast accuracy: A Monte Carlo investigation," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 723, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  4. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 2002. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 134-44, January.
  5. Harvey, David I & Leybourne, Stephen J & Newbold, Paul, 1998. "Tests for Forecast Encompassing," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 16(2), pages 254-59, April.
  6. Askitas, Nikos & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2009. "Google Econometrics and Unemployment Forecasting," IZA Discussion Papers 4201, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Golan, Amos & Perloff, Jeffrey M, 2002. "Superior forecasts of the U.S. unemployment rate using a nonparametric method," CUDARE Working Paper Series 956, University of California at Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Policy.
  8. Proietti, Tommaso, 2003. "Forecasting the US unemployment rate," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 451-476, March.
  9. McQueen, Grant & Thorley, Steven, 1993. "Asymmetric business cycle turning points," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 341-362, June.
  10. Sichel, Daniel E, 1993. "Business Cycle Asymmetry: A Deeper Look," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(2), pages 224-36, April.
  11. West, Kenneth D, 1996. "Asymptotic Inference about Predictive Ability," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1067-84, September.
  12. Hansen, Peter Reinhard, 2005. "A Test for Superior Predictive Ability," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 23, pages 365-380, October.
  13. Halbert White, 2000. "A Reality Check for Data Snooping," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1097-1126, September.
  14. Francesco, D'Amuri, 2009. "Predicting unemployment in short samples with internet job search query data," MPRA Paper 18403, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Neftci, Salih N, 1984. "Are Economic Time Series Asymmetric over the Business Cycle?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(2), pages 307-28, April.
  16. J. Bradford De Long & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Are Business Cycles Symmetric?," NBER Working Papers 1444, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Hubrich, Kirstin & West, Kenneth D., 2009. "Forecast evaluation of small nested model sets," Working Paper Series 1030, European Central Bank.
  18. West, Kenneth D., 2006. "Forecast Evaluation," Handbook of Economic Forecasting, Elsevier.
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