Tracking the recession by industry

This morning, BEA released industry-specific data on the recession. According to the press release,

Downturns in durable-goods manufacturing and finance and insurance and a continued contraction in construction were the leading contributors to the downturn in U.S. economic growth in 2009, according to preliminary statistics on the breakout of real gross domestic product (GDP) by industry from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The economic downturn was widespread: 15 of 22 industry groups contributed to the decline in real GDP growth.

• Manufacturing value added–a measure of an industry’s contribution to GDP–fell 5.9 percent in 2009, a sharper decline than the 3.6 percent drop in 2008. Durable-goods manufacturing turned down for the first time since 2001, decreasing 7.5 percent after growing 0.3 percent in 2008. Nondurable-goods manufacturing fell 3.8 percent, a slower decline than the 8.2 percent drop in 2008.
• Construction value added fell 9.9 percent in 2009, reflecting declines in residential and nonresidential activity. Construction contracted for the fifth consecutive year.
• Finance and insurance value added dropped 2.7 percent in 2009, after increasing 3.2 percent in 2008.

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Of special interest to me, however, is which industries did not contract in 2009. These include: utilities, information (which covers publishing, software, film and sound recording, broadcast, information and data processing), real estate, professional & technical services, education, health care, accommodation and food services, and government. The data is not yet available at a lower level to be able to, for example, break out software from publishing. But it is clear that at least some intangible-based industries did OK in the recession.


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