Headline after headline lately warns about the potential danger lurking around the corner: the recession. Why does the dreaded R-word provoke such fear?
A recession is a significant, widespread, and prolonged decline in economic activity. It can last from several months to a few years. In response to the situation, employers often need to make cutbacks. They may downsize, lay off workers, or severely restrict new hiring.
Are any jobs safe during a recession? Unfortunately, no guarantee exists. However, workers in certain industries and occupations may stand a better chance of remaining employed during an economic downturn.
Here, we take a look at some of the best recession-proof industries and best recession-proof jobs. All salaries listed throughout are per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Simply put, people get sick and injured regardless of where the economy stands. They need treatment and medicine. Some require surgery and follow-up therapy.
Factor into the equation the continual aging of Baby Boomers. This large segment of the population will tax the healthcare system in the years ahead regardless of whether or not a recession exists. They will require services from healthcare professionals to deal with chronic conditions, mobility issues, and the like.
The stress brought on by economic turmoil has the potential to affect healthcare, too. People of any age may experience mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Substance abuse risks increase, as do chances for physical ailments such as high blood pressure, migraines, and digestive issues.
Obviously, someone cannot become a doctor or a physical therapist overnight. Students pondering their future, however, may want to weigh the ongoing need for medical professionals into their career path selection.
Many other healthcare occupations require significantly less training. For instance, aides and orderlies – who perform important services that keep medical facilities running smoothly – generally only need a high school diploma and a willingness to learn on the job.
Sample careers in healthcare that could be considered recession proof may include the following:
- Median Salary: $208,000
- Required Education: Medical School Degree (M.D – Medical Doctor or D.O. – Doctor of Osteopathy)
- Median Salary: $77,600
- Required Education: Completion of diploma, associate’s, or bachelor’s program in nursing.
- Median Salary: $30,310
- Required Education: Completion of a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program or similar state-approved training.
- Median Salary: $81,0404
- Required Education: Doctoral degree in psychology (Ph.D. or Psy.D.)
- Median Salary: $48,520
- Required Education: Bachelor's Degree or Higher
- Median Salary: $36,740
- Required Education: High diploma and completion of on-the-job training, or a vocational school certificate in pharmacy technology.
Did you know that 70% of U.S. households own at least one pet? And as we saw during the COVID-19 pandemic, people turn even more to furry friends for comfort and companionship during difficult times.
A recession may lead owners to look for cheaper dog food or go extra weeks between groomer appointments. When Fido is sick, though, you can bet he will receive the care he needs. Here are some recession-proof veterinary medicine careers:
- Median Salary: $36,850
- Required Education: Associate’s degree or higher
A global pandemic did not stop children from learning, and neither will a recession. Money problems may result in cutting “extras” such as field trips or new library books, but schools will still need teachers.
Private schools may suffer from lack of enrollment due to families’ inability to pay tuition. Teachers at public schools face a better scenario. Teacher shortages already exist in many areas of the country, which has led to signing bonuses and other perks to entice teachers to join the staff. And if talk of staff reductions does happen, you can bet the strong leadership of teacher unions will fight to protect members.
Here are some strong education career paths:
- Median Salary: $61,350
- Required Education: Bachelor's Degree
- Median Salary: $29,360
- Required Education: Typically two years of college coursework
Recessions increase the number of families experiencing difficulties and can cause those already suffering from problems to need even more help. Social work professionals monitor situations and direct clients to vital services such as food pantries, free or low-cost healthcare, safe houses, homeless shelters, and counseling for abusive behavior.
- Median Salary: $37,610
- Required Education: High school diploma or higher
First responders remained active during the pandemic, and a recession likely won’t slow down these professionals either. Fires, accidents, and medical emergencies happen every day whether the stock market booms or tanks. Communities need these workers to deliver immediate help, regardless of what the stock market looks like.
- Median Salary: $35,470
- Required Education: Completion of a 1-2 year certificate program in emergency medical technology
- Median Salary: $50,700
- Required Education: Training at a fire academy; many departments also require EMT certification
Similarly, people continue to commit crimes and go to jail regardless of the economy. In fact, the need for law enforcement officers often increases during recessions as crime tends to go up when the economy goes down. Dire financial situations can lead to a jump in stealing, drug dealing, and other illegal means of obtaining money. And youth without job prospects and too much time on their hands may turn to gang activity and destruction of property.
- Median Salary: $66,020
- Required Education: Varies from high school diploma through bachelor’s degree depending on position, plus training at a police academy
- Median Salary: $47,920
- Required Education: Varies from high school diploma through bachelor’s degree depending on position, plus training at an academy
Don’t expect this industry to across-the-board hold its own during a recession. However, employees in certain occupations within this sector stand a good chance of surviving an economic downturn.
April 15 arrives every year like it or not, and companies and individuals alike rely on accountants to handle their taxes. Likewise, insurance providers look to remain in decent shape. Clients may opt for less expensive policies, but people still need healthcare coverage, car insurance, and protection for their property. Financial advisors offering debt counseling may be in demand, as might those with a strong reputation for successful investing with limited funds. And since many customers will have less money to spend, businesses will need to compete for their dollars. Marketing professionals who show a solid track record of boosting employer profits stay employed.
Here are some recession-proof business jobs:
This industry has several factors working in its favor. The world already relies heavily on technology both personally and professionally. Demand for reliability, ease of use, and security of information is unlikely to go away.
In an effort to save money, some companies may look into automation and upgraded tech as an alternative to hiring more workers. Also, to lower the price of rent and utilities, organizations may downsize their physical space. Successful expansion of remote operations demands qualified IT workers to troubleshoot and keep everyone connected.
- Median Salary: $80,600
- Required Education: Bachelor's Degree
When your bank account won’t allow purchasing a new car, you fix the one you own. Ditto for appliances and other items around the house. Similarly, cash-strapped businesses often “make do” with repairs to existing machines and office equipment rather than buying replacements.
- Median Salary: $46,880
- Required Education: Diploma or associate’s degree from a vocational/trade school
- Median Salary: $43,180
- Required Education: High school diploma, though many attend post-secondary programs at a vocational or trade school
Lastly (no pun intended), roughly 8,000 people die in the United States each day. Their loved ones depend on funeral service staff to guide them through the difficult process of laying someone to rest. While families may opt for a less expensive casket or eliminate a luncheon after services, they still want to provide a respectful burial for their loved ones. They realize they only get one shot at performing this final honor, regardless of the economy.
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