Recession Proof Jobs: Looking for Job Security in an Economic Downturn

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The pandemic has disrupted the lives of millions of Americans in the past few years, causing some to lose their jobs. It left many people wondering whether any job is safe in a recession. There are industries that provide more job security than others. 

Signs of being in a recession

A recession isn’t always predictable. The COVID-19 pandemic was certainly one that took the world by surprise. There are a few warning signs that make a recession more likely, and you can use them to prepare for an economic downturn. These signs include:

  • Unemployment rises
  • Poor stock permanence
  • Consumer confidence decreases
  • Inverted yield curve
  • More consumers are making late payments and higher credit card debt

Knowing these warning signs can help you become aware of what might happen.

Is it hard to find a job during a recession?

There are many myths about the difficulty of finding a job during a recession. You can improve your chances by being proactive and using different strategies to land a job. For example, instead of applying to a wide range of companies, pick a few places you’re interested in and focus on openings there.

Another strategy is to look at growth industries where the demand for workers is rising. Your network is another avenue to leverage. Keep in touch with old managers and co-workers and ask for their help with your job search.

There are other alternatives to finding a full-time, permanent job during a recession to consider. For example, freelancing to keep some money coming in could tide you over until you find the next opportunity. Or you might accept a temporary contract position with a company that interests you. That could turn into a job offer in the future. 

Industries with the most recession proof jobs

Jobs in certain industries tend to fare better than others do in a recession. While no job is 100% secure, you’ll often be in a better position in industries that aren’t as affected by mass layoffs, fewer job hirings, and stiff competition for job openings. If you’re looking for a career change, consider these industries.

Tech industry

Everything these days seems to revolve around technology. The internet of things (IoT), automation, machine learning, and cloud computing are all areas that are booming. Jobs in the tech industry will often pay more than those in others. You’ll need specialized training or education to break into jobs in this sector, so keep that in mind.

Information technology

These jobs include data analysts, network administrators, IT managers, and cloud administration. The essence of what they do is support network databases and systems, troubleshoot, update system hardware, and assist team members in supporting data security and optimization.

With the Internet of Things and everyone using the web, IT jobs will never have a downturn during a recession. Cyber threats and hackers don’t stop either, and IT is there to stop them.

Computer support specialist

Support specialists help provide technical assistance, support, and advice to organizations. They typically answer questions from computer users but may also run diagnostic programs to determine the case of an issue and help resolve it.

More people and businesses are working from home, which gives more of a need to computer support specialists.

Design and development

Jobs in this field product designers, web designers, and design and development engineers. They are responsible for designing systems, processes, and methodologies.

Whether it’s freelancing or working in-house or for agencies, graphic design and web development will continue to be a necessity as ecommerce and online shopping continues to increase.

Health care and medical

Many jobs in health care are left untouched by recessions. Public health often suffers during recessions. The exception is medical service providers who offer elective treatments, such as dentists.

Nurses

The need for more nurses is only growing as many of these workers have retired in recent years. If you’re willing to move, travel nurses can make more than double an average nurse’s salary.

Physical therapists

These professionals help aid in treating ailments and the recovery process for surgical procedures. This is a big need for people after surgeries since it is important to rebuild their strength quickly.

Hospice workers

Hospice workers complete their work in the homes of their patients or a hospice building. They are also known as “end of life care professionals” and death unfortunately doesn’t stop during recessions.

Home health aid

These healthcare workers support patients by providing them with help for their everyday life. This includes housekeeping, laundry, shopping for food, and other household requirements. Even in a recession, those that need these services may be getting government help to pay for them, making this a secure job.

Medical assistant

The duties of a medical assistant are to aid physicians, nurses, and other medical staff. Typically, they handle administrative and clinical duties under the direction of one of these staff members. As with most healthcare positions, hospitals make enough money that there wouldn’t be a worry with medical assistant jobs.

Government and public workers

Federal and state jobs are among the top recession-proof jobs out there. These types of jobs offer more security than many other industries. Disagreements in Congress can affect hiring and budgets, but otherwise, this area is a safe bet.

Law enforcement and police officer

Jobs in law enforcement include cops, detectives, CSI’s, sergeants, and federal agents. These jobs are somewhat buffered from layoffs. Recessions can cause an increase in crime, especially in cities, thereby making sure there are plenty of jobs in law enforcement.

Firefighter

The economy has little impact if fires happen. A study by John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that fires tend to increase when there are more vacant buildings, which happen during recessions.

Corrections worker

Typically, corrections workers will do work that includes enforcing rules and keeping order in jails or prisons, supervising activities of inmates, and inspecting the facilities. Arrests and jails don’t slow down activity in economic downturns, and its usually paid by taxpayer money making it a safe job.

Teacher

Despite what’s happening in the economy, there are students that need to be taught. Teachers develop lesson plans and educate students at all grade levels. There is more remote teacher work than ever before, which means more opportunities in the industry.

Urban planner

Urban and regional planners identify the needs of a community and develop short-term and long-term solutions to enhance or revitalize them. While their budgets may decrease, their jobs should stay because of the importance to their community.

Social worker

There are many different specializations that social workers can get into. Generally, they are responsible for improving the lives of their patients by helping them cope and manage the stress they’re facing. In a recession, a lot of people may fall into poverty and need help from social workers, making them imperative.

Construction

The construction industry is a major contributor to the economy. The four major types of construction are residential buildings, institutional and commercial buildings, specialized industrial construction, and infrastructure and heavy construction.

Electrician

Electricians complete work that includes inspecting, testing, installing, repairing, and modifying electrical systems and components. The lights always have to stay on and that’s where electricians come in.

Plumber

The work of plumbers involves maintaining the flow and drainage of water, air, and other gases. They do this by assuming, installing, and repairing pipes, fittings, and other plumbing fixtures.

Construction worker

Also known as construction laborers, they are responsible for several on-site tasks, including removing debris, loading, and unloading building materials, and operating heavy equipment.

HVAC

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technicians will install and repair different air quality systems. Even in a recession, homes are being flipped and homeowners are making improvements, making HVAC contractors very important and in need.

Public utility

This industry includes organizations that maintain basic services like water, natural gas, and electricity. This industry is resistant to recessions because it is necessary to provide necessities of everyday life. Due to their importance, they are subject to various forms of regulation and public control.

Trash collectors

Trash collects typically work in pairs to collect and remove waste and recyclable materials for processing. They pick up these items from public parks, residential neighborhoods, and commercial business centers. There can’t be trash building up in cities and neighborhoods, making trash collectors more important than we know.

Home and personal care

Companies found in the home care industry primarily provide services at the home. Self-care has only grown in importance in the past decade as people use various methods to deal with the stressors in day-to-day life.

Funeral workers

Funeral service workers help find locations, dates, times for wakes, funerals, burials, and cremations. Families still want to pay their respects and are willing to pay what it takes to do so, even in a recession.

Salon and barbers

These stylists perform a large range of services including cutting hair, shampooing, cutting, and styling hair. They also perform shop maintenance activities like cleaning the instruments.

Animal care worker

These service workers handle the day-to-day care of medical boarding and stay-the-day pets. Tasks may include feeding, cleaning, watering, walking, and bathing dogs, cats, and other companion animals. Rescue animals will always need care from these loving workers, so why not work every day for a good cause if you love animals.

Child care worker

Also called daycare workers, people in these jobs are responsible for providing a safe and fun environment for young children. As long as parents are able to continue working, they will have a need for daycare.

Essential workers

Workers who are in the “frontline” complete a variety of different duties that society needs people to perform. During the pandemic, these workers were required to work outside their homes and put themselves at risk of COVID-19 exposure.

Truck driver

Truck driver’s duties include long-distance driving, loading and unloading cargo, basic vehicle maintenance, and coordinating with dispatchers. They are the unsung heroes during a recession as they do so much behind the scenes to deliver the goods you use every day.

Grocery workers

Grocery clerks are responsible for maintaining a clean work environment, organizing food displays, and supporting various grocer store operations. You and your family need to eat, and grocery stores will never close.

USPS, FedEx and UPS

Workers who work for these organizations handle the everyday mail and packages that people across the world receive. Online shopping isn’t going anywhere no matter how the economy is, so the delivery jobs will always be booming – until drones start making deliveries.

Food delivery drivers

Delivery drivers in the food industry became a popular form of work during the pandemic. Working for restaurants and food delivery businesses like DoorDash, these drivers collect and deliver food that customers order from establishments.

Uber and Lyft

Ride-sharing drivers pick up customers who need rides to various places. Some people in cities don’t own cars, so they will always have a need to get to their destination from a ride-sharing driver.

Financial

Firms and institutions that provide financial services to commercial and retail sectors make up the financial industry. You can find work in banks, investment companies, insurance companies, and real estate firms. These are all very secure jobs to have no matter how the economy is.

Accountants

The main responsibility of accounts is to manage accounting transactions, budgets, and manage financial information. They often prepare and examine financial records and ensure that the information is updated regularly and accurately. Businesses need an accountant to make sure their numbers will help them stay afloat during rough times.

Tax professionals

A tax preparer works with clients to help them submit their tax forms. They ensure that the client pays the appropriate amount of taxes while maximizing their return. Death and taxes is the saying, and paying taxes doesn’t stop in a recession.

Budget analyst

Budget analysts prepare reports and monitor spending. They may also help organizations with planning their finances. This will help companies project their revenue and needs to keep them in the green.

Auditors

Compliance and internal control procedures are a necessary component of ensuring an organization’s financial records are accurate and following legal guidelines. Auditors review these accounts to ensure these practices are being followed and there’s appropriate documentation.

Loan officer

If you’re looking for a personal or commercial loan, a loan officer is typically the one responsible for reviewing, authorizing, and recommending loans for approval. They also help clients navigate the process of applying for a loan.

Financial advisor

Financial advisors help individuals assess their financial needs and make decisions on investments. During recessionary times, these jobs are critical to keeping people on track to meet their financial goals.

The legal industry is generally more recession-proof than other industries. Regardless of the economic situation, certain legal services are always needed. Certain types of law firms and lawyers will fare better than others. For example, family and criminal law aren’t as affected as commercial law.

Lawyer

The key responsibilities of a lawyer are to advise and represent clients. They handle various activities throughout the legal process and their work doesn’t generally slow down in recessions.

Tips to prepare for a recession

If there are signs of a recession coming, you can take proactive measures to minimize its potential negative effects on your life. Here are 8 ways to get yourself prepared for the next recession.

Pay off debt

If you have student loans or credit card debt, now’s a good time as any to start paying it off. Two strategies to consider using are the avalanche and debt snowball methods.

Budget and live stingy

Starting and following a budget isn’t exciting, but it works. Start building that habit now. One trick that can help with that budget is to learn to live stingy. For example, instead of taking the family out for a movie, opt for a movie rental and grab some store-bought popcorn.

Make money online

There are tons of ways you can make extra money without leaving the house. Online jobs can provide extra money that can help pay down debt or build savings.

Save money

Whether it’s part of your newly formed budget or simply a new habit, start putting away a bit of cash each month. Saving money even if you don’t need it now can provide a nice cushion if a recession takes you for an unexpected ride.

Invest smart

Creating passive streams of income will allow you to make money while you sleep. Investing in the stock market will often generate good results.

Sell stuff

Clearing out an attic or garage? Why not get the added benefit of making extra money by selling your unwanted things at the same time.

Start a side hustle

If you’ve ever dreamed of getting paid for your woodworking hobby, now’s the time to work on building that business. Side hustles can become lucrative enough that you might even end up quitting your day job.

Save on meals

One of the biggest monthly expenses of families is food. Meal prepping is a great way to save money, reduce waste, and organize grocery trips.

Conclusion

A recession can’t always be predicted, but there are always proactive steps that you can take to protect yourself. Look at jobs in these industries that typically aren’t as affected by economic downturns. If it is not possible to make that career change, there are plenty of ways to increase your cash flow beforehand. With substantial savings to count on, you’ll be able to navigate through tougher times.

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