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The Stay-at-Home Labor Market: Google Searches, Unemployment Insurance, and Public Health Orders
This article looks at the relationships between internet searches for unemployment-related terms, unemployment insurance (UI), and the public health orders issued in the U.S. during the Covid-19 pandemic. We find that Google searches for unemployment-related subjects surged before the record increase in initial UI claims, which in turn peaked before the public health orders were implemented. As of mid-April 2020, these orders covered the vast majority of the U.S. population. Since then, the rates of increase in both search activity and initial UI claims have slowed.