Like most side projects that devour hours of time and end up being entirely useless, this one started with a simple question:
Can recessions be predicted by increased interest in news stories about recessions?
The background behind this question -- and you'll have to forgive my complete ignorance of basically the entire field of economics -- is that recessions are a feature of capitalist economies. From what little I've read (and understood); during a boom, businesses scale up their operations to produce more and more "stuff". At a certain point the amount of "stuff" exceeds the demand for "stuff" and businesses and sectors are left holding a load of plant/equipment/employees they no longer need.