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Repossessions and Removals

Recovery specialist Rob Sparks of Metropolitan Asset Recovery Solutions, works to reposess a vehicle in Gibbstown, N.J.

William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

Some industries act like financial scavengers during a recession, feasting on the rotten remains of the rest of the economy. For the repo man -- whose job is to repossess vehicles and other property when the owner fails to make payments -- bad news is big business. During the 2002 recession, car repossessions jumped 60 percent over 2001 [source: Valenti]. In 2008, during the worst of the Great Recession, a total of 1.67 million vehicles were repossessed, a 12 percent increase from the year before [source: BBB].

Junk removal is another service industry that profits from the misfortune of others. When a bank forecloses on a home, some indebted homeowners skip town and leave all of their possessions behind. For businesses like Miss Junk in Los Angeles, this means monthly revenues of $150,000 during the recession of 2007-2009, 10 times what it earned in its first month in 2007 [source: Ellis].

Bankruptcy lawyers also keep busy during a recession. More than a million individuals filed for bankruptcy in the United States in 2008, prompting 30 percent more bankruptcy lawyers to enter the profession [source: Gonzales]. Even with the economy in slow recovery, 1.2 million individuals filed for bankruptcy protection in 2012, which means there is still plenty of bankruptcy business to go around [source: U.S. Courts].

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