Looking for a line of work that has yet to feel the bite of recession? You could go into dentistry. A report from Sageworks, a Raleigh, North Carolina, market research firm that focuses on small businesses, shows that dentist offices were the most profitable privately held companies in the U.S. last year, with a net profit margin of almost 17 percent. Following dentists were accountants and taxpayers, legal services and health practitioners. Nine of the top 10 are service providers and four are in healthcare. But if you’re not ready to head for med school, Sageworks lists other professions that held up well in 2008. Catering, waste collection and cattle ranching all rode out the storm with good profits.
Rich feeling no pain. Perhaps you’ve spotted those stories about wealthy people cutting back. Bentley sales are off 32 percent in North America. Sales of homes over $1 million were down 70 percent in 2008. But there are two sides to every Krugerrand. French fashion house Hermes is selling $2,800 silk scarves inspired by the art Josef Albers (we’ve never even heard of the guy). And Brioni just came out with a line of suits (called, unabashedly, the Vanquish) that cost around $45,000. It’s the most expensive line of suits ever. Maybe you can pick one up for your next job interview.
The return of government cheese? If you’re old enough to remember the 1980s recession, you may recall one of its most enduring symbols: government cheese. It was processed cheese handed out free to welfare and food stamp recipients. It came in blocks, melted well and tasted fine (or so we hear). And it may soon make reappearance on the cultural landscape. Turns out the long boom inspired dairy farmers to beef up their herds with lots more cows, which are still churning out milk (it’s what cows do). Unable to sell it at prices that the dairy industry deems palatable, farmers are unloading it on the U.S. government, which supports the price of dairy products. So far, only milk powder has hit the low price that triggers government buying but many expect cheese to get there soon. As Marie Antoinette once said (kind of): “Let them eat nachos!”
Sell your idea to Kraft. If you do load up on some government cheese, you might want to hit the kitchen and start experimenting. If you come up with a great recipe, Kraft might be interested (providing there’s a place in your list of ingredients for a Kraft product).