Here's a few possible reasons why:
- The Google Trends data changes. A lot. As I update my data series I have noticed the entire set has changed (all the way back to 2005!) up to 10% Comparing the older and newer data series gives you the same shape of the graph for year over year purposes but seeing data change that much is perplexing. I've emailed Google about this but we'll see if I get any response.
- The strong seasonality of layoffs (Go look at the government non seasonally adjusted data. It is very 'spikey') could be making the two series non comparable at this time of year. Even though both series are compared on a year over year basis something may still be incorrect.
- There could just be anxiety about losing ones job right now and those searches are showing up in the Google data.
- Census workers are getting laid off right now and looking for new jobs but they may not be showing up in the unemployment claims data.
- The Google data is relative to all other searches which should remove the bias of greater internet usage over time but it may not properly isolate this specific function used more as compared to others.
I don't have any bets placed due to this data but I'm still hopeful something can come of this series. In a few hours we'll see if I'm still banging my head against a wall or onto something.
Source: Federal Reserve, Google