Healthy Local Businesses in a Bad Economy

As reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, a new report by consultants Sageworks reports that amid the economic gloom, some industries are actually doing pretty well. These industries, with their sales growth rates for the past year, include accounting and tax services (up 10.9 percent); specialized freight haulers (up 6.8 percent); health practitioners other than physicians and dentists (up 10 percent); dentists (up 7.8 percent); and beer, wine and liquor distributors (up 4.7 percent).

Notice anything in common with these? First, they’re all service businesses. Second, they’re full of small businesses. Some of the findings from our fresh User View survey of consumers (February 2008) underscore the dynamism in some of these sectors.

We’ve especially picked up unusual fluidity in the health-care services industry. Thirty-six percent of respondents report they’ve used a new provider within the past six months. This is the highest usage rate of new providers in all shopping situations we surveyed, and compares with just 29 percent who used a new provider in our survey two years ago.

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