Internet Mired in Malaise

If you Googled "malaise" following reports of anemic job growth in May, you weren’t the only one, according to the free-market American Enterprise Institute.

Back in 2009, White House economist Larry Summers said he felt better about the U.S. economy since Google searches on "economic depression" had declined sharply.

Since he’s a pretty smart guy, I thought I would try the same approach in gauging the trend in American economic optimism.  Or, rather, economic pessimism.

I ran a Google Trends search on "malaise," the word that came to evoke the dismal 1970s and the economic failures of the Carter administration. As you can see from the above chart, searches on "malaise" are on the rise—and that is probably not counting today’s dismal jobs report.

An AEI chart of the Google trend reveals that the current search rate is near its 2009 peak and could be on the way up, according to Obama ally Mark Zandi, a chief economist at the credit ratings agency Moody’s.

"There is nothing very redeeming about this report, it’s pretty ugly all the way around," said Mark Zandi, adding, "No matter how you slice it, it suggests that the economy’s growth rate has slowed going into the spring and summer."