Every recession is different, affecting some industries more than others. Analyzing the composition of the recession may reveal how the recovery from the recession may progress, as jobs in some industries appear easier to fill than jobs in other industries. The recession that followed the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) resulted in a substantial downturn in construction, among other industries. Triggered by lockdowns associated with containing COVID-19, the 2020 recession had substantial effects on the travel and hospitality industries—restaurants, hotels, airlines, etc.
The FRED graphs in this post show employment for four industries in thousands of persons, with the shaded gray bars indicating the period of recession. The first industry—construction—experienced a substantial downturn during and after the GFC, and recovery from that episode was slow. During the COVID-19 recession, however, the downturn in construction was relatively small; as of January 2021, it had recovered about 77% of its employment loss. The other three industries—amusement, gambling, and recreation; accommodation; and food services—experienced relatively small downturns during the GFC recession but very large downturns during the COVID-19 recession. Following the GFC, these industries recovered fairly quickly. Thus, one might infer that, subsequent to the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, these industries may recover quickly, thus shortening the duration of the recovery.
How these graphs were created: Search FRED for and select “All Employees, Construction.” Using the blue sliding bar at the bottom of the graph, or the date entry boxes in the top right-hand corner, adjust the timespan to your desired date range. Repeat for the series “All Employees, Amusements, Gambling and Recreation,” “All Employees, Accommodation,” and “All Employees Food Services and Drinking Places.”