Some companies and industries do especially well in tough times: Discounters, health-care providers, fast-food chains, Facebook (FB). That’s right, Facebook. The unemployment rate is more correlated with Google searches for “facebook” than with any other search term.
Google’s Correlate “finds search patterns which correspond with real-world trends.” The most obvious way to use it is to enter a query into the search box, and it will give you search terms that have a similar pattern of activity. For example, search for “football” and you find that NFL, fantasy, and tailgating are in the top 10. Not very surprising.