Just doing the Google News searches quickly today, given other commitments.
For those who are relatively new and need background, go here to the first post on search done on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving in 2010.
- “holiday shopping season” (in quotes) — 20,400 (94.1%)
- “Christmas shopping season” (in quotes) — 1,290 (5.9%)
That’s an extraordinarily low percentage for the “Christmas” component.
Now on to the second set of searches:
- Christmas layoffs (not in quotes, also excluding the word “challenger” to ensure that about 30 items relating to the mass layoffs report issued by Challenger & Christmas were exluded) — 9,890 (20.6%)
- Holiday layoffs (not in quotes) — 15,000 (31.1%)
- Holidays layoffs (not in quotes) — 23,200 (48.3%)
The sheer quantity of layoff stories this year is about 100 times (not kidding) greater than that seen at the same time last year. No doubt the Hostess situation is contributing to that, and it’s possible that Google News has loosened its rules for news site inclusion. Even considering those factors, the bigger story may be that there are more layoffs now than there were a year ago, despite what the weekly claims numbers are saying, and despite the press crowing about an improved economy.
One of the basic truths found for the past six years running continues to hold. The press is far more likely to use “Christmas” in connection with layoffs (roughly 3.5 times as likely in the most recent set — 20.6% vs. 5.9%), an obviously negative thing, than it is to use “Christmas” in connection with shopping and commerce, a generally positive or neutral thing.
A related NewsBusters post is here.