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Seven Things We're Still Doing Despite The Recession

Wednesday, 6 May 2009 | 3:30 PM ET

While folks may not look forward to a trip to the dentist or to the accountant, they aren't using the recession as an excuse not to visit them.

Dentist
Dentist

Sageworks, a provider of private company data, took a look at seven things consumers are still doing despite the economic slump. On the list: Going to the dentist and visiting the accountant.

The average dentist office experienced sales growth of 6.9 percent in the last 12 months, up from 4.9 percent growth in 2007, Sageworks said.

Meanwhile, accounting firms saw average sales growth of 10.2 percent over the last 12 months, putting the accounting sector in the top 20 industries in the country by sales growth.

Consumers also are still going to hair salons, barber shops, and nail salons, with the average shop seeing an increase of 4.5 percent over the past year. (Guess you have to look good for that job interview.)

"If you are in a business that is needed in today's society, you are probably going to be doing fine," said Brian Hamilton, Sageworks CEO. The firm compiled the list after combing through data they received on private companies across the nation.

Some of the results weren't all that surprising. For example, consumers aren't buying furniture, but they are fixing their cars and homes instead of buying new ones.

Auto repair shops saw sales rise by an average 2.4 percent over the past 12 months, while car dealerships saw sales shrink by 9.7 percent over the same period.

And there's probably not much a person can do when their power goes off or the toilet backs up, you have to call an electrician or plumber. Sales for these services were up 4.6 percent, while home builders saw sales shrink by more than 5 percent.

Some folks might be looking to cash in on that trend. Attendance at technical and trade school is on the rise, driving up the top-line by 7.8 percent over the past 23 months, compared with growth of 5.9 percent in 2007.

And if the grocery store has looked a little crowded lately, you're not imagining things. Grocery store sales are up about 6.7 percent, on average, over the past 12 months, while sales at sit-down restaurants rose 3.9 percent during the same time period.

But there were some surprises.

"Employment agencies are doing well," Hamilton says. He explains that more companies are filling jobs with temporary employees working under short-term contracts. This type of service is driving up fees at employment agencies, who are tasked with finding contract workers.

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