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!

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.