The Media Recession Index Turned Up Sharply in December

Are we due for a recession? One barometer is to simply look at how much we’re all chattering about the possibility of a recession. This is normally calculated using media mentions of the word recession, but that’s old school—and I don’t know where to get that data anyway. So instead, here are two other measures of how much we’re all talking about the economy:

The orange line is an index based on the average daily number of uses of the word recession in the Wall Street Journal. The blue line is the Google Trends chart for recession as a percentage of the Google Trends chart for expansion. It crossed the 50 percent mark two weeks ago.

As you can see, there’s been a slight upward trend in both indexes all year, followed by a huge uptick in December. The Journal index increased by 50 percent in December compared to its average over the previous 11 months, while the Google Trends index soared by 150 percent.

Why is this? Is it because we all get bored during the holiday season and invent things to chatter about? Is it because the stock market has been doing so poorly? Is it because Donald Trump has been whining about the Fed so much? Or is it because we really are getting close to a downturn? Wait and see!

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot. That's what Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein tackles in her annual December column—"Billionaires Are Not the Answer"—about the state of journalism and our plans for the year ahead.

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THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot.

Please read our annual column about the state of journalism and Mother Jones' plans for the year ahead, and help us build an alternative to oligarchy by supporting our people-powered journalism with a year-end gift today.

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