It’s now been a little over two-and-a-half years since our recession officially started — for economic purposes, a recession only starts after a decline in gross national product (GNP) over two consecutive quarters — and guess what? Overall aggregate spending is actually up! That is to say, Americans are spending more today then they were at the end of 2007 by 2.9% (or $285 billion), according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Pretty cool, right? That said, not every industry is up. So let’s look at today’s big winners and losers. First up: the winners.
Current Recession Winners
1.) Telephone equipment | up 16.6%
2.) Pets | up 14.4%
3.) Education (including nonprofits) | up 13.4%
4.) Child care | up 12.8%
5.) Healthcare (including drugs) | up 12.8%
6.) Housing (including rentals) | up 6.4%
7.) Food and drink | up 5.3%
8.) Communication services (wired, wireless, cable) | up 5.0%
9.) Information processing equipment | up 3.9%
10.) Personal care products | up 3.9%
11.) Sporting equipment, guns and ammunition | up 3.7%
In the winners category you might notice a few intertwining forces at work. First up, you can see the effect of an aging population in healthcare spending as more and more baby boomers are reaching their post-retirement years. Other essentials are covered too of course — child care, education, groceries and even housing (surprisingly enough). And then there’s the big recession-proof success story of the past few years: cell phones. Be them iPhones, smartphones, regular-old phones or the communication services needed to make them work: Americans aren’t letting a recession get in their way of their mobile technologies. Other winners include pets and guns. Interpret that however you want.
And now, the losers:
12.) Clothing and footwear | down 1.1%
13.) Accommodations | down 2.8%
14.) Household furnishings and equipment | down 6.3%
15.) U.S. travel outside the United States | down 7.4%
16.) Video and audio equipment | down 8.4%
17.) Sports and recreational vehicles | down 12.8%
18.) Gasoline and other energy goods | down 15.3%
19.) Motor vehicles and parts | down 16.0%
20.) Moving, storage, and freight services | down 19.6
As you can see, clothing, foreign travel and televisions (as well as their surround-sound systems) are all down, but the biggest loser here, by far, is gas — and things that take it. American’s are driving less, much less. Perhaps the influx of cell phones (as noted above) has replaced the need to drive places to get things done?
I’m not sure, what do you think?