U.S. Loses 20K Jobs but Some Are Merchants of Misfortune

The U.S. economy is tanking, but for some, the downturn brings more dollars.

ByABC News
October 2, 2008, 6:20 PM

May 2, 2008— -- Employers cut another 20,000 jobs in April, the Department of Labor reported today. The reduction, while smaller than expected, marks the fourth straight month of job losses in the U.S., as many companies fight to stay in the black in a weakened economy. The unemployment rate now stands at 5 percent, down slightly from 5.1 percent last month.

The construction, manufacturing and retail sectors led the nation in payroll cuts.

As those industries continue to struggle, certain businesses and professions are thriving, and the slump is what's driving them.

Some are less obvious than others. Take, for instance, the video game industry. Conventional wisdom dictates that during tough times, consumers cut back on the extras in life, including entertainment. While movie ticket and DVD sales have flagged, it's been a banner year so far for video game makers.

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In the first three months of the year, the video game industry logged more than $4.2 billion in sales, an increase of just under $1 billion from the same period in 2007, according to NPD Group, a New York-based market research firm.

One of the factors behind the boom is consumers' desire to get more value for what they spend on entertainment and recreation, according to said David Riley, a director at NPD and a gamer himself

If you're "going to a bar with friends and spending $8 on a cocktail -- after five or six cocktails, you're broke. It's hard to justify, especially in this economy," Riley said.

In contrast, he said, a $60 game can bring up to 100 hours of enjoyment.

In the meantime, investors, wary of the volatile stock market, have been putting their cash into such commodities as oil and food, which, in turn, has helped prompt job creation in agriculture and parts of the energy sector, Behravesh said.

"Any business or anybody working in those industries," he said, "should be feeling reasonably good at this point."