16 Best Recession-Proof Jobs for All Skill Levels

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Recession-proof jobs

Let's talk about recession-proof jobs! Any time the mention of a recession hits the headlines, there is a sense of worry about job security and with good reason. During the 2008 recession, over 10% of Americans were unemployed.

It meant fewer job hirings, mass layoffs, and intense competition for the job openings that were available. Higher education degrees did not guarantee job security the way they once had. Does anyone remember the minimum wage jobs requiring a college degree?

With a staggering loss of over 35 million jobs in 2020, the unemployment rate has already risen to 14.7% according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The fact is, during a recession, very few job sectors remain intact. And while the effects of a recession will look different for each of us, but let’s be honest, a recession impacts everyone

Although no job is guaranteed, there are a few career fields that are impacted a lot less during a recession. Here’s a list of the best recession-proof jobs for a variety of education and skill levels:

1. Medical & healthcare providers (Healthcare industry)

Whether you’re a doctor, physician assistant, nurse, or radiographer, a job in the medical field is a great place to work during a recession. Our physical or mental health doesn’t care about what’s going on in the economy. People will get sick even during a recession. Babies will be born, appendixes will burst and accidents will happen.

A job in a hospital or clinic is a choice if you are looking for maximum job security. No matter what’s happening in the stock market or with GDP growth, people will get sick and injured and will need care. This is a top recession-proof job field.

2.  IT professionals (Tech industry)

We depend more on technology than we ever have in our lifetime. Whether it’s IT support, cell phone troubleshooting, computer repair, or building information systems technology companies don’t seem to as effected by the economic downturn.

In fact, now more than ever businesses are using technology to reduce overhead costs by offering employees work from home options.

3. Utility workers

The need for support personnel in waste management, electricity, and other utilities is needed regardless of what the economy is doing. These are core services for day to day living and so there's high demand. This sector tends to have labor shortages as the labor force ages.

4. Accountants

In a quote often attributed to Ben Franklin, he said: “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Businesses will continue to need accountants as long as the tax system exists.

Accountants help both individuals and businesses with financial records, bookkeeping, and tax filings.

5. Credit and debt management counselors

Unfortunately, many people turn to credit cards and amass more debt during financial hardship. A recession is no different. As people add to their credit card balances, more are going to need help managing their debt.

These counselors or specialists can help negotiate a reworking of your debt to reduce your personal liability and avoid bankruptcy. They can also help prepare your finances from further impact due to a recession.

6. Public safety workers

Security guards, ambulance drivers, firefighters, and law enforcement officers are more often needed during economic downturns. Working in the public safety sector tends to be a safe bet in a recession.

7. Federal government employees

Federal jobs are one of the most stable jobs you can have. Civilian and military jobs are less affected by a recession and provide more security. Although disagreements in congress can affect hiring and budgets, working in the federal government is a pretty safe bet.

There are opportunities in the military for career growth as well as the possibility of a higher education degree with little to no cost.

8. Teachers and college professors

As long children are born the need for educators never ceases. Education for those in K-12 will continue no matter what is happening in a recession. Classroom sizes may get bigger and home learning may get more popular, but as experienced teachers retire and leave the education system the need for teachers will continue.

Teachers are one of the most unionized professions and come with a long list of guarantees when it comes to job security. Professors in higher education also benefit from things like tenure regardless of how the economy is doing.

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, during the great recession, enrollment in higher education actually increased.

9. Senior care providers

Jobs at assisted living facilities and demand for in-home care aides continue to increase as the population ages. This continues to be true even in a recession. Everything from ambulette and other transportation services certified nursing assistants and home health aides.

10. Delivery and courier services

With many brick and mortar stores closing their doors, online shopping has increased over the years. Long gone are the days when you would just shop for clothing and books.

Today you can have almost anything delivered including meal prep kits, household items, groceries, and even alcohol. Businesses who have moved to the “work from home” models frequently use courier services as well.

11. Pharmacists and technicians 

Just like hospitals and healthcare clinics, pharmacies will see a steady stream of consumers as people will need to continue taking their regular medications. When it comes to recession-proof jobs, this also tops the list.

12. Grocery store employees

Discretionary spending should be the first thing cut if you lose your job and this includes dining out. Regardless of how trim you cut your budget a trip to the grocery store is inevitable and this keeps economy grocers in business.

Pro-tip, avoid specialty or high-end grocery stores when you apply as they may not be as recession-proof as the lower-end stores.

13. Auto mechanics

Vehicles can break down at the most inopportune times including during a recession. Families will hold on to their vehicles a bit longer than normal during financial hardship. This, in turn, means more maintenance on older vehicles.

14. Public transportation workers

Public transportation needs are always high in highly populated cities as people commute to work and other destinations. Also, as vehicle repossessions increase during recessions so does dependency on public transportation creating safety in this job sector.

Transit workers from bus drivers, mechanics, engineers, and ticket booth agents are just a few of the transit jobs that remain safe during the economic downturn.

15. Lawyers and legal professionals

Did you know that during the last recession, law and MBA graduates averaged three months without a job? While not all jobs in the legal profession are recession-proof jobs, there are certain legal professions like bankruptcy, criminal defense, and divorce lawyers that might not be as affected.

The good thing is that jobs like court reporters, courtroom security, court record clerks, paralegals, and legal assistants can be pretty stable jobs in the legal profession. When big corporate firms begin to layoff staff lower-paid workers are likely to keep their jobs.

16. Funeral home director

In a recession, many things seem to stop and although morbid, so do lives. People die even in a recession and the need to lay a loved one to rest doesn’t stop in a recession.

While by no means an easy career, funeral home directors are able to help families through the transition of giving their loved ones the send-offs they deserve, making it an important recession-proof job.

In Closing

While there are no 100% guaranteed recession-proof jobs, there are certain careers that appear to be safer than others. A few other careers that may be less affected by a recession or perhaps some would say “recession-resistant” are actuaries, debt collectors, auditors, and repossession agents.

There are also several recession-proof businesses to consider.

The truth is that there is no easy answer to safeguarding your job. Recessions can raise stress and anxiety. One of the best things you can do is to be prepared and stay vigilant.

If you are worried about losing your job be proactive and take the necessary steps now.

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