In the world of business, a major recession does not necessarily mean everybody suffers together. Bright spots always exist.
Sometimes the trend-beaters are individual companies, and sometimes -- as this year's HB 500 shows -- they are entire industries.
Surprisingly, despite Wall Street's ignominious role in the unraveling of the U.S. economy, the financial sector was a stellar performer within the HB 500. Although finance is one of the smallest sectors in the directory -- with just 13 companies on the list -- its one-year 17.2 percent surge in overall earnings is nonetheless impressive.
But when it comes to longer-term improvements, this year's winner is the service sector. This industry -- which includes health care companies, human resource outsourcing firms, and telecom service providers -- was the only area of business to post an increase for the second year in a row.
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