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In the economic crisis turns...
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In the economic crisis turns misfortune into a blessing ten winner

If there are silver linings to the recession, they're not immediately apparent. After all, the national unemployment rate is 8.1 percent, the highest since 1983, and economists predict it will reach 9 percent by 2010.

Gross domestic product is forecast to shrink more this year than at any other time since the Great Depression. And across the country, stores are closing, municipal budgets are tightening, and banks are begging for bailouts.

But a handful of industries, companies, and products are doing well--relatively speaking. They run the gamut from Quarter Pounders to contraceptives, but they share a key component: Whether they help people pivot to new careers, cut costs at home, or simply escape from all the bad news, they're poised not only to weather the economic storm but to, in some way, benefit from it.

See the full list of the 10 top recession winners.

1. Home Gardening

Research by Atlee Burpee, the world's biggest seed company, found that $50 of seeds and fertilizer can yield $1,250 worth of produce. Green thumbs agree: Sales at Burpee are expected to jump 25 percent in 2009, while veggie seed sales at Park Seed are up 20 percent this year from 2008. And a National Gardening Association poll shows that the number of households planning to grow their own food in 2009 has increased by 19 percent from 2008. The trade-off? Fewer flowers. With garden space—and budgets—squeezed, flower seed sales are down.

2. Hollywood

The number of subscribers to Netflix, the DVD delivery service, climbed 26 percent in the fourth quarter from the same time last year. That helped put the company's revenue up 19 percent from the previous year. And according to industry researcher Media by Numbers, 2009's box office sales are tracking 16.5 percent higher than the year before—at this rate, theaters will make $1.9 billion, versus last year's $1.6 billion—with attendance up nearly 15 percent.

3. Bodice Rippers

Harlequin, the world's biggest publisher of series romance, saw North American sales rise $3 million in 2008's fourth quarter from a year earlier. Other escapist literature also has done well: Although most book sales were flat or down in February 2009 from the year before, a spokesperson for the Borders book chain says that science fiction and fantasy were up—as were humor titles.

4. Condom Makers

Whether for at-home entertainment or to try to stave off the cost of a baby in trying times, condom sales rose 6 percent in January from the year before. "If people don't have the money to go out to a fancy dinner or are looking to cut back, Trojan gives them some real affordable ways to stay in and make some great memories together," Jim Daniels, Trojan's vice president of marketing, told USA Today.

5. Résumé Editing

Résumé writer Jerry Bills, who has worked on nearly 30,000 résumés since 1986, says his sales numbers are up 46 percent from last winter. "I'm way too busy to bother to even track it all," he says. "All I know is I don't even have a life anymore."

One poll by the National Résumé Writers Association found that 54 percent of respondents had seen an increase in clients as economic conditions worsened.

And at her own business, says Feldberg, December and January orders had jumped 300 percent over the same time last year. But résumés for certain industries are being submitted more than others. While résumés for the restaurant industry, healthcare, and tourism are up at Peterson's ResumeEdge, those for financial services are, unsurprisingly, down.


 

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