Here’s a cool resource for economic freelancers (or for anyone who is interested in real world charts and graphs): America’s past economic performance, as demonstrated by trends in Google searches, adjusted for search volume.
The first page shows a couple of fascinating charts: the first is the “Google Retail Index and Clothing Store Sales” and one called the “Auto Buyers Index.” Actual retail sales figures are added on the Retail Index chart–interesting trends here.
It’s also obvious from the Auto Buyers Index that Cash for Clunkers had a dramatic effect, as was widely reported by the news media.
You can generate all types of charts by clicking through the lists on the left sidebar. Google also invites you to download the data, search for trends, & report back your results. You can learn more about this resource here.
There’s even MORE info about this project on the Google Research Blog.
Attention Political Writers:
The 2012 US Budget Appendix is available for free pdf download at the White House site (mercifully, divided by Agency): http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Appendix. You can also get the GoogleBooks version for $9.99 by clicking here.