These are industries that actually do better when the economy
is doing worse. For instance, the automobile
repair business is counter-cyclical
in most circumstances. While there may be a few people who will be forced to get rid of their cars rather than repair them if they are laid off in a recession, many others will need them so badly they will spend money repairing a car they cannot afford to replace. Historically the latter
has outweighed the former.
Many investors favor industries such as grocery chains and health care in recessions, since people do not cut down much on them when they are in moderate financial distress, but they are not truly counter-cyclical if people don't actually spend more on these things in a recession.