|XP is just a number|
And even big G's rankings appear to omit a search term which might drive up Perl's numbers:
Check the dropdown box for "related to perl" at AM's Google link, http://tinyurl.com/d4wnsu which doesn't even offer "CPAN" (Of course, that might mean we refer people there with a caution against "reinventing the wheel" so effectively that that search is irrelevant?)
The default display shows the red language at a very low (and only slowly rising) "general interest" level. Based on analysis with the Mark I eyeball, the deltarate (relative to category) may have been highest in mid-2005, while the all-time, so-far high "relative to category" appears to have been during late-2006, after which it trends lower to midway into the third quarter of 2008. In the overall "interest" tab, the same language appears to have pretty much flatlined since mid-2005. Does any of that strike you as probative of anything substantive?
Many, perhaps most, single-issue methodologies for ranking anything as amorphous as "popularity" have serious flaws. IMO, that includes what -- for this particular issue --- may be better than most: the job search technique mentioned below by Gavin.
Update: Fixed (s/slow/low/) typo.
In reply to Re^2: Perl is sinking (TIOBE): all time low for Perl