In the same way Google can forecast flu outbreaks some weeks in advance of such an occurrence based on search queries, professional networks such as LinkedIn may be able to garner insights into the operational state of a company before anyone else, particularly in situations where large numbers of its employees simultaneously begin updating their profiles.
Well think about how most people use LinkedIn, you pretty much treat your profile like your CV, when things are stable you tend to leave it, never updating or checking it reguarly to improve it. However when it looks like you need a new job you’ll keep logging in, add new experience, etc. Now if your data sample is a 100 people in one company, then of course you might not get any solid information out of that. However, lets say you take a company with a few thousand workers, if a significant amount of those goes from not logging in within 3-6 months to logging in frequently AND updating their profiles, then you might just have a company that’s about to cut staff.