Earlier this week I looked at the use of the word ‘recession’ in the context of the UK economy. Following the downgrade of the US debt I had a similar look at the debate on the US economy.
The first chart shows the share of online mentions that use the word ‘recession’ in relation to the US economy.
It is clear that there has been a substantial increase in the index since March and that the level in August has surpassed the previous peak of August last year.
But while the mentions of Ben Bernanke seemed to correlate well with the mentions of recession last year, the story is different this time. Notice how the focus on Bernanke has gone down in July and August when the focus on ‘recession’ has gone up.
The explanation might be that the problems this time around are more centred on political issues or the inability of politicians to deal with the issues.
The second chart seems to indicate that this time there is a better correlation between the mentions of ‘politicians’ and ‘recession’ than ‘Bernanke’ and ‘recession’.
Note: The charts are adjusted for the measured influence each “voice” has in the debate on the US economy. For example, compared with the New York Times (the most influential), FT weighs in with 59%, Guardian with 43% and the blog Seeking Alpha with 15%
My colleague Tom Flaye recently introduced me to the Recession index, an index developed by The Economist that tracks the mentions of the word ‘Recession’ in New York Times and Washington post.
It inspired me to take a look at the UK economy in InfluenceMonitor and it came up with an interesting graph.
The graph below shows the share of online articles and blog posts (not just the newspapers used in the original R-index) that mention the word ‘recession’ when they also mention the UK economy.
The blue line is where all articles and blog posts are weighted equal and the red line is where they are adjusted for their measured influence in the debate on the UK economy.
The green line (Gap) shows the percentage difference between the 2 lines.
Although the direction of both the blue and the red line would (according to the R-Index) indicate that the UK Economy is not on its way to a recession the sharp increase of the gap (green line) indicates that those with more influence in the debate on the UK economy have substantially increased their mentions of the R-word compared with other (and less influential) commentators.
Greece used to be a focal point in the debate on the global economy but in the last couple of week the attention has been dwarfed by the debate on the US debt ceiling.
It will be interesting to see if the attention returns to Greece once the US gets the debt ceiling sorted.