Some service industries grow faster in recessions
November 30, 2001
Most of the service division's 16 major industry groups decelerate in job growth or lose jobs during recessions. Five major groups are at least slightly countercyclical, however, gaining jobs faster in recessions than in normal times.
The percentage point difference between growth rates in recessions and expansions among the countercyclical group ranges from a high of 0.5 in private education to 0.1 in amusement and recreation. The major industry group with the greatest employment in the division, health services at 0.3 percentage point, is among this group.
Demand for health care is relatively unaffected by recessions, because to the consumer, healthcare can be a necessity rather than an optional commodity whose purchase can be postponed. Furthermore, Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance provide funding dedicated solely to healthcare, so that much of the funding is not subject to competition with other types of purchases, and benefits remain available to persons during periods of unemployment.
The industry employment data referred to here are products of the Current Employment Statistics program. For more information, see William C. Goodman, "Employment in services industries affected by recessions and expansions," Monthly Labor Review, October 2001. (The National Bureau of Economic Research on November 26 designated March 2001 as the starting point of a recession.)
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Some service industries grow faster in recessions on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2001/nov/wk4/art05.htm (visited April 25, 2015).
Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics
New estimates of personal taxes in Consumer Expenditure Survey
In 2013, the Consumer Expenditure Survey improved its personal tax data.
Trends in long-term unemployment
Long-term unemployment reached historically high levels following the recession of 2007–2009.
Housing: before, during, and after the Great Recession
looks at consumer expenditures on household items, employment in residential construction, prices for household items, and injuries in occupations involved in building and maintaining our homes.