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NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Christopher Ré

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Working Papers

March 2014Using Social Media to Measure Labor Market Flows
with Dolan Antenucci, Michael Cafarella, Margaret Levenstein, Matthew D. Shapiro: w20010
Social media enable promising new approaches to measuring economic activity and analyzing economic behavior at high frequency and in real time using information independent from standard survey and administrative sources. This paper uses data from Twitter to create indexes of job loss, job search, and job posting. Signals are derived by counting job-related phrases in Tweets such as “lost my job.” The social media indexes are constructed from the principal components of these signals. The University of Michigan Social Media Job Loss Index tracks initial claims for unemployment insurance at medium and high frequencies and predicts 15 to 20 percent of the variance of the prediction error of the consensus forecast for initial claims. The social media indexes provide real-time indicators ...

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