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Markets in a Minute

All S&P 500 Sectors and Industries, by Size



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S&P 500 sectors and industries

S&P 500 Sectors and Industries

All of the S&P 500 Sectors and Industries, by Size

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The S&P 500 is one of the most widely quoted stock market indexes, but do you know how it’s comprised? From soft drinks to semiconductors, the benchmark index tracks an extremely wide variety of industries across the U.S. economy.

In this Markets in a Minute chart from New York Life Investments, we show every sector and its underlying industries by size.

A Sector View

At a high level, the S&P 500 tracks broad segments of the economy known as sectors. Here’s how the percentage allocation in the index breaks down:

SectorPercent of S&P 500 Index
Information Technology27.48%
Health Care14.58%
Consumer Discretionary11.18%
Communication Services10.90%
Consumer Staples7.05%
Real Estate2.80%

Data as of July 31, 2020.

Information technology, which makes up almost 28% of the index, has outperformed other sectors by a wide margin so far in 2020. At the other end of the spectrum, real estate, materials, and energy each make up less than 3% of the index.

Diving Deeper: An Industry View

While investors are likely familiar with sectors, the specific underlying industries may be lesser known. Below is a complete industry breakdown of the S&P 500.

Click “Next” to view industry breakdowns of each sector

SectorIndustry% of Sector
Communication Services
Alternative Carriers0.32%
Cable & Satellite9.86%
Integrated Telecommunication Services15.22%
Interactive Home Entertainment4.18%
Interactive Media & Services51.52%
Movies & Entertainment14.69%
Publishing & Printing0.22%
Communication Services (cont'd)Wireless Telecommunication Services2.12%
Consumer Discretionary
Apparel Retail3.39%
Apparel, Accessories & Luxury Goods1.27%
Auto Parts & Equipment0.94%
Automobile Manufacturers1.89%
Automotive Retail2.97%
Casinos & Gaming0.98%
Computer & Electronics Retail0.75%
Consumer Electronics0.47%
Consumer Discretionary (cont'd)Department Stores0.10%
General Merchandise Stores4.40%
Home Furnishings0.33%
Home Improvement Retail13.16%
Hotels, Resorts & Cruise Lines2.05%
Household Appliances0.34%
Housewares & Specialties0.21%
Consumer Discretionary (cont'd)Internet & Direct Marketing Retail47.65%
Leisure Products0.31%
Specialized Consumer Services0.09%
Specialty Stores1.36%
Consumer Staples
Agricultural Products1.25%
Distillers & Vintners2.23%
Drug Retail1.57%
Consumer Staples (cont'd)Food Distributors1.41%
Food Retail1.43%
Household Products26%
HyperMarkets & Super Centers17.15%
Packaged Foods & Meats14.79%
Personal Products2.39%
Soft Drinks21.13%
Integrated Oil & Gas50.88%
Energy (cont'd)Oil & Gas Equipment & Services8.13%
Oil & Gas Exploration & Production20.30%
Oil & Gas Refining & Marketing11.51%
Oil & Gas Storage & Transportation9.18%
Asset Management & Custody Banks8.08%
Consumer Finance4.40%
Diversified Banks27.43%
Financial Exchanges & Data11.91%
Insurance Brokers5.77%
Financials (cont'd)Investment Banking & Brokerage6.63%
Life & Health Insurance4.08%
Multi-line Insurance1.84%
Multi-Sector Holdings14.23%
Property & Casualty Insurance7.41%
Regional Banks7.91%
Health Care
Health Care Distributors1.65%
Health Care (cont'd)Health Care Equipment25.73%
Health Care Facilities1.06%
Health Care Services4.80%
Health Care Supplies1.64%
Health Care Technology0.54%
Life Sciences Tools & Services8.56%
Managed Health Care11.30%
Aerospace & Defense20.41%
Industrials (cont'd)Agricultural & Farm Machinery2.58%
Air Freight & Logistics7.85%
Building Products5.57%
Construction & Engineering0.78%
Construction Machinery & Heavy Trucks6.61%
Diversified Support Services2.09%
Electrical Components & Equipment5.66%
Environmental & Facilities Services3.20%
Human Resource & Employment Services0.27%
Industrials (cont'd)Industrial Conglomerates13.56%
Industrial Machinery10.12%
Research & Consulting Services4.11%
Trading Companies & Distributors2.48%
Information Technology
Application Software8.79%
Communications Equipment3.42%
Data Processing & Outsourced Services15.67%
Information Technology (cont'd)Electronic Components0.74%
Electronic Equipment & Instruments0.53%
Electronic Manufacturing Services0.48%
Internet Services & Infrastructure0.54%
IT Consulting & Other Services4.27%
Semiconductor Equipment1.95%
Systems Software24.00%
Technology Distributors0.22%
Technology Hardware, Storage & Peripherals24.29%
Commodity Chemicals6.71%
Construction Materials4.11%
Diversified Chemicals1.46%
Fertilizers & Agricultural Chemicals6.71%
Industrial Gases27.73%
Metal & Glass Containers3.47%
Paper Packaging8.80%
Materials (cont'd)Specialty Chemicals28.45%
Real Estate
Health Care REITs6.78%
Hotel & Resort REITs1.00%
Industrial REITs12.24%
Office REITs5.85%
Real Estate Services1.94%
Residential REITs11.20%
Retail REITs7.51%
Real Estate (cont'd)Specialized REITs53.48%
Electric Utilities62.41%
Gas Utilities1.53%
Independent Power Producers & Energy Traders1.20%
Water Utilities3.15%

Data as of July 31, 2020.

In total, the S&P 500 tracks 126 industries, and each one presents unique risks and opportunities.

Biotechnology, which focuses on novel drug development and clinical research for treating diseases, has gained renewed interest during the COVID-19 pandemic. While successful drugs can offer high potential returns, about 90% of clinical programs ultimately fail. Investors can screen potential companies for various factors including corporate sponsor support, ample long-term funds, and a pipeline with more than one product.

Another example is aerospace and defense. Due to the high barriers to entry and significant funding from the U.S. government, this can be an attractive industry for investors. However, it can be impacted by the current government’s defense policies. For example, the aerospace and defense industry performed well after President Donald Trump was elected, and it may be influenced by the November 2020 election results.

The Big Picture

With a full view of the S&P 500 sectors and industries, investors can get a better idea of the opportunities within U.S. large cap stocks. However, it’s worth noting that it is not possible to invest directly in an index. Investors can put funds in these industries by purchasing stocks directly, or through managed products such as ETFs and mutual funds that track index performance.

By exploring every corner of the economy, investors can take advantage of growth potential in various areas—not just those trending in the news cycle.

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Markets in a Minute

Charted: Unemployment and Recessions Over 70 Years

Despite market uncertainty, U.S. unemployment is low, at 3.7%. In this infographic, we show unemployment and recessions since 1948.



Unemployment and Recessions

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Charting Unemployment and Recessions Over 70 Years

As of August 2022, the U.S. unemployment rate sits at 3.7%, below its 74-year average of 5.5%.

Why does this matter today? Employment factors heavily into whether economists determine the country is in a recession. In fact, in the last several decades, employment-related factors have some of the heaviest weightings when a recession determination is made.

In this Markets in a Minute from New York Life Investments, we look at unemployment and recessions since 1948.

Why Is the Unemployment Rate Important?

To start, let’s look at how unemployment affects the economy.

During low unemployment and a strong labor market, wages often increase. This is a central concern to the Federal Reserve as higher wages could spur more spending and notch up inflation.

To curb inflation, the central bank may increase interest rates. As the economy begins to feel the effects of rising interest rates, it may fall into a recession as the cost of capital increases and consumer spending slows.

Who Determines It’s a Recession?

A committee of eight economists at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in Massachusetts make the call, although often several months after a recession has happened. As a result, employment data often acts as a lagging indicator.

This committee of academics looks at a number of variables beyond two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth. Other factors include:

  • Nonfarm payroll employment
  • Real personal income less transfers
  • Real personal consumption expenditures
  • Industrial production
  • Wholesale retail sales adjusted for price changes
  • Real GDP

A widespread decline in economic activity across the economy, as opposed to just one sector, is also considered.

Unemployment and Recessions Over History

Over the last 12 business cycles, the unemployment rate averaged 4.7% at the peak and 8.1% during the trough. The below table shows how the unemployment rate changed over various U.S. business cycles, with data from NBER:

Peak Month Unemployment RateTrough Month Unemployment Rate
Nov 19483.8%Oct 19497.9%
Jul 19532.6%May 19545.9%
Aug 19574.1%Apr 19587.4%
Apr 19605.2%Feb 19616.9%
Dec 19693.5%Nov 19705.9%
Nov 19734.8%Mar 19758.6%
Jan 19806.3%Jul 19807.8%
Jul 19817.2%Nov 198210.8%
Jul 19905.5%Mar 19916.8%
Mar 20014.3%Nov 20015.5%
Dec 20075.0%Jun 20099.5%
Feb 20203.5%Apr 202014.7%

In 1953, following post-WWII expansion, the unemployment rate fell to 2.6%, near record lows.

During this time, the economy faced strong consumer demand and high inflation after a period of prolonged low interest rates. To combat price pressures, the Federal Reserve increased interest rates in 1954, and the economy fell into recession. By May 1954, the unemployment rate more than doubled.

In 1981, the unemployment rate was high during both the peak of the cycle (7.2%) and the trough (10.8%) by late 1982. This marked the end of the 1970s stagflationary era, characterized by slow growth and high unemployment.

More recently, at the peak of the business cycle in 2020 the unemployment rate stood at 3.5%, closer to levels seen today.

Unemployment Today: A Double-Edged Sword

As of July 2022, the number of job vacancies is at 11.2 million, near record highs.

To reign in the inflationary pressures of the current job market—which saw year-over-year wage increases of 5.2% in both July and August—the Federal Reserve may take a more aggressive stance on interest rate hikes.

The good news is that labor force participation is increasing. As of August, labor force participation was within 1% of pre-pandemic levels, offering relief to the labor market supply. Higher labor force participation could lessen wage growth without unemployment levels having to rise. Since more people are competing for jobs, there is less leverage for salary negotiation.

Going further, one study shows that since the Great Financial Crisis, labor market participation has had a greater influence on wage growth than unemployment levels or job openings.

Against these opposing forces of higher job vacancies and higher labor market participation, the outlook for unemployment, along with its wider effects on the economy, remain unclear.

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Markets in a Minute

How Closely Related Are Historical Mortgage Rates and Housing Prices?

With mortgage rates climbing, could housing prices drop? We explore the relationship between historical mortgage rates and house prices.



Scatterplot showing the relationship between historical mortgage rates and house prices

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Are Historical Mortgage Rates and House Prices Related?

Mortgage rates are rising at their fastest pace in at least 30 years. As mortgage rates climb, it becomes more expensive to finance a home purchase. This leaves many homebuyers with lower budgets. Could house prices drop as a result?

In this Markets in a Minute from New York Life Investments, we explore the relationship between historical mortgage rates and housing prices over the last 30 years. It’s the last in a three-part series on house prices.

Historical Mortgage Rates vs Housing Prices

To compare trends in historical mortgage rates and housing prices over time, we calculated year-over-year percentage changes. We used monthly data spanning from January 1992 to June 2022. Here’s a summary of movements over that timeframe.

Scenario# of Months
Mortgage Rate Decline, House Price Growth193
Mortgage Rate Growth, House Price Growth117
Mortgage Rate Decline, House Price Decline49
Mortgage Rate Growth, House Price Decline6

November 2006 has been excluded from the above tally as year-over-year mortgage rate growth was 0.0% at that time.

Mortgage rates and house prices have a weak positive correlation of 0.26. This means that when mortgage rates increase, house prices typically also increase. What could be contributing to this trend? Mortgage rate increases are associated with periods when the Federal Reserve is raising its policy rate in response to inflation that is higher than desired. Often, this coincides with strong economic growth, low unemployment, and rising wages, which can all strengthen home prices.

Over the last 30 years, it was quite rare for mortgage rates to rise while house prices simultaneously dropped. This only occurred in the early stages of the Global Financial Crisis and during the recovery.

DateMortgage Rate YoY ChangeHouse Price YoY Change
Aug 20070.8%-0.6%
Oct 20071.1%-1.9%
Jan 20101.6%-2.9%
Apr 20106.3%-1.5%
May 20103.3%-1.4%
Jul 20110.4%-3.8%

While mortgage rates saw some upward movement in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, it took the housing market longer to recover. In fact, housing prices didn’t see a positive year-over-year change until March 2012.

Is There a Lag Effect?

A change in mortgage rates may not be immediately reflected in housing prices. To test whether there was a lag effect, we also explored the relationship between historical mortgage rates and housing prices two years later.* For instance, we compared the annual percentage change in mortgage rates in 2020 to housing price growth in 2022.

Here’s what the data looked like with this two year lag of housing price growth.

Scenario# of Months
Mortgage Rate Decline, House Price Growth190
Mortgage Rate Growth, House Price Growth97
Mortgage Rate Decline, House Price Decline37
Mortgage Rate Growth, House Price Decline17

*We tested for a lag effect using house prices six months later, one year later, two years later, and three years later. The data using house prices 6 months later and three years later revealed no correlation between mortgage rates and housing prices. The data using house prices one year later revealed the same correlation as using house price data from two years later. November 2006 has been excluded from the above tally as year-over-year mortgage rate growth was 0.0% at that time.

The pattern was similar, albeit with a slightly negative correlation of -0.15. In other words, mortgage rates and house prices tended to move in opposite directions.

For example, this occurred in 2020 when mortgage rates were dropping and the Federal Reserve had not yet begun to raise its policy rate. Two years later in 2022, house prices were seeing record high levels of growth amid strong demand and low supply.

Compared to our first analysis above, there were also more instances where mortgage rates increased and house prices decreased. This activity all related to mortgage rates rising from 2005-2007 amid inflation concerns, with housing prices crashing in the following years due to subprime mortgages and the Global Financial Crisis.

Historical Mortgage Rates: One Piece of the Puzzle

Could the current rising mortgage rates cause housing prices to drop? In the last 30 years, there is no historical precedent for this apart from the Global Financial Crisis. Of course, subprime mortgages—mortgages to people with impaired credit scores—contributed to the housing market collapse at that time.

While researchers believe it’s unlikely housing price growth will turn negative, the pace of growth is slowing down. We can see this in the below chart showing trends between historical mortgage rates and housing prices over time.

Changes in historical mortgage rates and house prices over time. When the year-over-year mortgage rate changes has been above 20% for more than two months in a row, the pace of house price growth has slowed.

Historically, a slowdown in house price growth has occurred when mortgage rates increase rapidly. Since 1992, there have been four instances when mortgage rates rose over 20% year-over-year for more than two months in a row. Each of them has been accompanied by a deceleration in house price growth.

Time PeriodHouse Price YoY Change at StartHouse Price YoY Change at End
Sep 1994-Feb 19953.1%2.9%
Aug 2013-May 20147.2%4.7%
Sep 2018-Dec 20185.8%5.5%
Jan 2022-Jun 202218.4%16.2%

Note: House price data only available until June 2022 and does not reflect any fluctuations since that time.

In the first half of 2022, house price growth slowed by over two percentage points. However, it’s important to keep in mind that while mortgage rates and affordability can play a role in the housing market, there are other factors at play. The current market is buoyed by high demand as millennials reach their prime home buying years, coupled with a housing supply shortage.

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