10 Recession-proof Businesses

Candy, Cosmetics and Contraceptives
Something about a recession makes a sweet treat more appealing. Many of today's most popular candy bars were invented during the Great Depression. Goodshot/Thinkstock

If anyone likes a quick pick-me-up, it's the stressed out American worker. If you're lucky enough to keep your job during a recession, then you're probably bracing for the next round of layoffs. While heavy drinking at the office is frowned upon, nearly everyone can get behind a big bowl of jellybeans.

Candy consumption in the United States went through the roof during the Great Recession. The New York Times reported that Cadbury's profits were up 30 percent in 2008, and Nestle saw a 10.9 percent growth [source: Haughney]. Inexpensive, sweet treats provide a necessary break from all of the bad news. Indeed, during the Great Depression, treats like Snickers, Tootsie Pops and Mars Bars were all invented, and are still enjoyed today [source: Haughney].

Cosmetics and nail-care businesses also do well during recessions as women look for inexpensive ways to pamper themselves. In fact, some economists point to rising lipstick sales as a reliable indicator of a sagging economy [source: Schaefer].

The bedroom is also an excellent (and free, in most cases) treat during the recession. But budget-conscious couples make sure to avoid any unplanned expenses. During the first two months of 2009, contraceptive sales were up 10 percent [source: Gregory].