By Ben Nielsen, Eric Haberkorn, and Ellie Miller



On October 2nd, 2009, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the unemployment rate rose .1% during September 2009 to 9.8%, the highest rate since 1983. Bob Willis, a writer for Bloomberg, explained how the rise in unemployment would affect America's economic recovery. He believes the unemployment rate is going to remain around 10% for the rest of 2009 and 2010. Willis also stated that 263,000 people lost their jobs in September and the average work week shrank to 33 hours, matching a record low.

When searching for “tweets” regarding this event, we searched with the keyword “unemployment”. We began archiving messages at 3:00 p.m. on October 2nd and collected a total of 13,311 tweets over a five-day period. We entered the stream after its peak on the 2nd and by that time, approximately .04% of all tweets still mentioned unemployment. Initially, Archivist captured its maximum of 1,500 tweets. We found it surprising that the stream began to die off so quickly because rising unemployment is a major economic event. After beginning with .18% of all tweets at 8 A.M., the activity died to just .01% by noon the next day. This activity can be seen in the Trendistic chart below. Our collection ended on October 7th, when the stream had slowed to a lull.

We captured 3,622 "retweets" and found some of them very interesting. There were many tweets that were "retweeted", but none of them were "retweeted" a significant number of times. We read through most of the "retweets" and found a few that offer attention-grabbing views on the announcement of the September unemployment rate.


“RT @1txsage1957: Unemployment Rate is Now 52.2 Percent for Americans Ages 16-24 http://bit.ly/3hszWl,” was a "retweet" we found particularly fascinating because although these people may be actively searching for work, many of them do not have the necessary skills and education to perform many jobs so they are not being hired. This high percentage may be skewing the total unemployment rate because these people are typically less educated than any other demographic in the working class.

External Reference Type Count
Retweet (RT) 3620
At-Reply (@) 2719
Hash Tag (#) 1796
URL (http://) 8523
Total Posts 13311

This "retweet", “RT @elonjames Watching the Media, u'd think we gave Obama a 0 debt, 0 Unemployment rate, 0 wars Presidency & he Effed it up in 9 months,” shows a conservative view on Obama’s actions, when really many of his problems were carried over from previous administrations. The overall health of our economy has been decreasing since the Clinton Administration of the late 90’s as our debt has been exponentially increasing. Many believe that the Media tends to portray Obama in a positive light.

Some Twitter users decided to take a more sarcastic tone, saying: “RT @AndyCobb US passed on the olympics, unemployment rate up. Best day for the GOP since we invaded a country based on lies. Congrats, guys.” The timing of this event coincided closely with the announcement of what country would host the 2016 Olympics. The U.S. had Chicago in the running, but it was voted out in the first round. This also shows that some people don’t believe that the wars we are fighting began for correct reasons.

These were some of the more prominent "retweets" that we captured and they show many differing views on the event that instigated the messages. Reading through these views gave us a decent understanding of how many people felt about the announcement and shows how many reacted.


Unemployment XML File