Chitika Insights investigates whether states with higher unemployment rates boasted a higher percentage of search queries that were job related.
Unemployment Rates Correspond to Online Search Interest for Jobs
9 May 2012 By Chitika Insights
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its latest figures on unemployment on May 4, 2012, which indicate that the country’s unemployment rate has dropped from 8.5% (December 2011 figure) to 8.1% at the end of April. Most impressively, the Labor Department’s latest statement on May 8 announced that the number of positions waiting to be filled increased by 172,000 to 3.74 million. This is the biggest gain since July, 2008. With the upcoming 2012 Presidential Election, jobs and unemployment rates are a topic of contention among potential candidates and President Barack Obama.
Given that the Internet is the job-search method of choice for those seeking employment, Chitika Insights wanted to see how unemployment rates affect internet users search behavior. Specifically, we wanted to see if states with higher unemployment rates boasted a higher percentage of search queries that were job related.
To test this hypothesis, we conducted a study using a sample of hundreds of millions of impressions coming through the Chitika network between February 9 and February 15, 2012. Chitika chose two keywords that are closely related to employment (“Resume” and “Employment”) and determined the prevalence of these terms on a state-by-state basis. We then correlated these numbers to each state’s unemployment rate (pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for December 2011) and graphed the data below:
As can be seen above, queries containing the words “employment” revealed positive correlation when graphed against unemployment rates by state, yielding an R-squared value of 0.48. The prevalence of the word “Resume” was far less connected to state unemployment rates, producing a far weaker positive correlation with an R-squared value of only 0.12.
Nevada, which has the highest unemployment rate in the country at 13%, also showed the fourth-highest rate of “employment” search queries, with 0.095% of all searches containing the term. Similarly, on the low end, the state with the lowest unemployment rate, North Dakota, also showed the lowest prevalence of “employment” in search queries (only 0.042%).
So how can this information be used to positive effect? This could be interesting data for job recruiters, who can use this study learn how and where to better target their recruitment efforts and more importantly, online ad campaigns. To more effectively engage with job searchers, understanding which terms they are searching for will maximize the “bang-for-the-buck” in any campaign. Educational institutions might also benefit from these correlations to ensure they are using the right keywords to reach their intended market
We also decided to take a look at how job searches compare when it comes to using your mobile phone vs. using your PC. To do so, we looked at a sample of millions of impressions between April 5, 2012 and April 7, 2012. We used the same keywords, “employment” and “resume”, to track job search interest on mobile devices and PCs. What we found is that employment related searches are more prevalent on mobile devices, while resume related searches are more prevalent on PCs. On mobile devices, about 1 of every 1,000 searches were employment related. On PCs, about 1 of every 1,000 impressions were resume related.
With promising numbers, such as the recent gains in available positions, we can hope that the slow recovery process will start to pick up. Chitika Insights will continue reporting on topics of interest as it relates to the 2012 election and trends we are seeing across our network.
The Business Leader Post is pleased to provide this data report from Chitika Insights, the research arm of the online advertising network Chitika. If you have a question concerning the data in this report, please contact the Chitika Insights team at email@example.com.
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