Google searches for ‘recession’ hit highest point since late 2009

Based on Google searches, it appears many fear the US is heading toward financially rocky times. 

The Washington Post reports that “data from Google shows that searches for ‘recession’ are at their highest level since November 2009, just a few months after the end of the Great Recession.”

January of 2008 marked the heaviest search activity for the word, and by November of the following year, volume had dropped by roughly two-thirds. 

While the renewed popularity of “recession” is concerning, the Post does provide some reassuring context.  

It notes: “At the moment, the search volume for ‘recession’ is only about one quarter the volume of searches for Kim Kardashian.” 

Related: Real-Life Signs We’re in a Recession

Real-Life SignsWe're in a Recession
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Real-Life SignsWe're in a Recession
Are we in a recession? Officially, that's up to a nonprofit group of economists at the National Bureau of Economic Research to decide. While their declaration is based on facts and figures, we took a more "average joe" approach to determine whether we are already in the midst of the big "R."

Our bloggers spied more than 20 new trends in everyday life that seem to say we are. Click through our gallery to see what they're seeing.
' Recession Signs Overview

First Up: Recession Sign No. 1
Thieves have taken to removing catalytic converters, which help control emissions, from the underside of parked vehicles. The converters contain trace amounts of platinum and rhodium --which go for about $2,054 and $9,278 per ounce, respectively -- and can be sold on the black market for a couple hundred dollars each. Victims, however, pay much more than that for replacement parts.
' Which Vehicles Are Hardest Hit

Next: Recession Sign No. 2

Who better to weigh in on consumer behavior, than the people who work in retail stores. For example, a merchandiser who works in a Maryland Target has noticed she is getting fewer items for the displays that she manages and that the store traffic has been considerably less since the holidays. She says there don't seem to be as many people shopping and they are moving less merchandise.

Next: Recession Sign No. 3
Costco is one of the few retailers doing pretty well these days. Why? As Americans increasingly worry about the rising price of food, more are finally biting the bullet and joining wholesale clubs, like Costco. Case in point: blogger Amey Stone recently jumped on the wholesale bandwagon. She says, "No matter how secure my husband and I feel in our own jobs, we see rising job insecurity all around us. Given that backdrop, I decided it really is worth it to pay $50 to join the Costco club."
' More on the Costco Effect
Next: Recession Sign No. 4
Even with weddings, people are increasingly watching their pennies. They are booking the affairs in off-peak times and reducing the number of guests they invite, according to the National Association of Catering Executives. People also are increasingly bargaining with caterers to keep their costs low without sacrificing the pomp of what should be a once-in-a-lifetime event. For example, don't be surprised if you attend an otherwise lavish wedding this year that does without a Viennese Table, a selection of desserts served at the close of an affair. Next: Recession Sign No. 5

Planning on hitting the links this summer? You may not have to worry that much about bumping into other golfers because there are fewer of them. According to The New York Times, people are quitting the sport in droves, partly because of economic reasons, such as corporations cutting back on country club memberships. This has occurred despite the popularity of Tiger Woods.

Next: Recession Sign No. 6

The auto industry, which already is hurting mightily, is trying to convince buyers to jump into a new car with lots of incentives. That's because dealers are desperate as thousands of Americans decide to delay their purchase of a new car this year.
' $1K Monthly for Minivan??

Next: Recession Sign No. 7
Getting a reservation at your favorite restaurant has gotten a lot easier lately -- too easy for the liking of owners of dining establishments. Sales are down at chains ranging from Red Lobster to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.

Anecdotally, one of AOL Money & Finance's editors was recently able to get immediate seating at the Cheesecake Factory in Sterling, Va. -- during prime-time dinner hours on a Thursday night. Previously, the wait had always been more than an hour.

Next: Recession Sign No. 8

Move over Pampered Chef and Mary Kay, "gold party" services are coming to town. Companies like My Gold Party and Gold Party by ADI have sprung up offering to help convert your friends' gold to cash, either by supplying you (for a fee) with the equipment and training for do-it-yourself appraisals or by sending a representative to your home who will set up shop in your kitchen.
' More on This Gold Party Trend

Next: Recession Sign No. 9
The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) reports for March that it's Small Business Optimism Index is at its lowest point since the second quarter of 1980. Businesses are complaining that increased selling prices are not keeping up with overhead inflationary pressures. Nearly one-quarter indicated that they raised employee compensation by a margin which is outstripping profitability increases. Headlines abound of popular retailers shutting down some (or all!) of its stores: Home Depot, Sharper Image & many others. Losing Competitors
Next: Recession Sign No. 10

Repo men have some enviable careers right now. Newspapers around the country have been publishing stories about local repo men raking in the bucks, taking away mostly vehicles, from cars to campers, and motorcycles to motor boats. According to KHOU, a Houston TV news station, 1.5 million vehicles were repossessed last year, a 15-percent increase from 2006. 2008 is expected to jump 10 percent from 2007
' More on Repo Men Rewards

Next: Recession Sign No. 11

Nationwide, Americans pay about $5 billion a year to borrow more than $40 billion from payday lenders. Even those who know what a bad deal these types of high-interest loans are, are not immune to them today. WalletPop blogger Geoff Williams, never intended to step foot inside a payday lending establishment ... until this year.
' My First Payday Loan

Next: Recession Sign No. 12
Walletpop blogger Josh Smith shares this story: One of my friends is in charge of marketing at a nearby mall, and works closely with their kids program. The program provides fun activities for children, during which parents can either put on a tiara or spend time shopping without junior in tow. Even though the event is free, attendance has been drastically down due to a lack of incentive to use the free daycare the events provide. In short, parents don't need their children watched, because they don't have the money to shop. Few Kids Need Care
Next: Recession Sign No. 13
According to frequent sporting-event and concert-goer Josh Smith, spending $100 plus dinner on a show or baseball game while food and gas prices are rising seems frivolous. This year he and his wife missed the entire season of their favorite minor league hockey team and passed on seeing one of their favorite comedians.
' What Will He Do Instead?

Next: Recession Sign No. 14
There is a growing movement of small businesses to compensate for falling sales by adding new business products. For example, blogger Tobias Bucknell shares that the dojo in his hometown has added a new side business to its martial arts: balloons. In Tom Barlow's neighborhood, the local model train shop is now also making banners.
' Strange Combo Ideas

Next: Recession Sign No. 15
Picture this, thrift store brethren: A woman in a late model Mercedes parks next to you and wanders into your favorite thrift store. What's going on, you wonder, not a little put out by the sight of an apparently well-off member of society making use of "your" affordable consumer items. What's going on here is an over-all belt-tightening. As the economy loses steam, people fear for the jobs, and the house-ATM machine dries up, people are looking at all the ways they can save. Frugality has suddenly become "in." More on This Thrift Store Trend
Next: Recession Sign No. 16

A lot of people are canceling or dramatically altering discretionary travel these days. With the ever-shrinking dollar, travel for fun and pleasure has dropped far down on the list of splurges for many middle class families. Gasoline prices, groceries, utilities, rents, day-to-day living expenses are taking a larger-than-ever chunk out of our budgets.
' More on Travel Trimming Trends

Next: Recession Sign No. 17

If you have a couple of kids enrolled for four to six weeks, as many are, summer camp can set you back more than $10,000. WalletPop blogger Michelle Turk spent $3,000 last year, but not this year. She plans to either skip camp altogether or find town-run camps that are a few hundred dollars vs. a few thousand.
' Summer Camp Sticker Shock

Next: Recession Sign No. 18

Another place that parents like WalletPop blogger Sarah Gilbert is avoiding in these cash-crunched times is the local zoo. And no, it's not because of the price of admission. It's the treat stands at every turn that have the kids shouting "gimme" and mom shelling out $20 for non-nutritious junk.
' Why The Zoo Is Out

Next: Recession Sign No. 19
Blogger Tom Barlow has a favorite coffee shop. However, it's undergone a change in the past few months. More and more frequently, formerly vacant tables are occupied by middle-aged executive types with their brand-new laptops, cell phones and lattes poised for action that never comes. Barlow suspects they are in the same boat as one of the fellows he knows, recently cut free as a part of recession-driven downsizing.
' Give Me Back My Coffee Shop

Next: Recession Sign No. 20
In the market for a Vegas vacation? Now might be a great time. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that "Reacting to a national economic slump that has depressed gambling revenues and room rates ... casino and hotel operators are offering up a buffet of spring time deals normally reserved for the hot, slow summer months." Room rates have fallen more than 20%conventioneers aren't staying as long as they used to, gaming revenue is down slightly, and it's easier to get in to A-list clubs than it used to be.
' More on Vegas Slowdown
Next: Trend Sign No. 21
Does the thought of moving to a new city after graduation, as the economy heads towards a recession, frighten you? If so, you may want to do what some whippersnappers are doing; moving in with grandma and grandpa in order to save money on rent. Many families are making it work. Living with your grandparents can also provide benefits to the entire family ,who can rest easy having someone around to help out around the house and be a point of contact in case of emergencies.
' More on Surprising Roomies
More on AOL: Dig Out of Debt
More on AOL:
How to Pay Down Debt

Sure, we all want to get out of debt. But once you've made that decision, and have unlocked a source of cash (big hurdles, to be sure), there is a question of just what is the best way to pay it off? That, depends on your goals.

Whether you are afraid of losing your home, are closing in on retirement or want to get a big loan in the near future, WalletPop shares 6 common reasons people want to reduce their debt load and the best strategy for each.

Six Smart Ways to Pay Down Debt

The Post’s report comes on the same day that major stock indexes experienced “the worst day of Christmas Eve trading ever,” reports NBC News.

“The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 653 points, falling below 22,000, on Monday and the S&P 500 entered a bear market after tanking more than 20 percent from a previous high,” the outlet added. 

Meanwhile, President Trump has suggested that the Federal Reserve is the “only problem” for the economy.

“The only problem our economy has is the Fed,” he tweeted Monday. “They don’t have a feel for the Market, they don’t understand necessary Trade Wars or Strong Dollars or even Democrat Shutdowns over Borders. The Fed is like a powerful golfer who can’t score because he has no touch – he can’t putt!”

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