With economic specialists warning the U.S. economy is poised to enter a recession unlike any other by the end of 2021, caused by the coronavirus pandemic, we can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen to all of us. Millions of people in industries such as tourism, hospitality and education have already lost their jobs, so, who’s to say your job is not going to be next?
Economic crises affect jobs in different and unexpected ways, but there are certain sectors that are safer than others in the event of a recession. If you’re curious to find out how safe your job really is, here’s a list of recession-proof occupations and careers. If yours is not on the list, it’s never too late to switch careers to protect your income in the case of a global recession. Speaking of which, you might also like to know more about these 13 Things You Shouldn’t Purchase During a Recession.
- 2007 unemployment rate: 2.2%
- Peak unemployment rate during Great Recession: 5.1%
- Change of unemployment rate during Great Recession: 131.82%
- 2020 unemployment rate: 1.6%
- Forecasted recession peak unemployment rate: 3.7%
Compared to other industries, it seems that working for the Government could get you through any recession. Take the Great Recession, for example. During the global economic downturn that began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009, federal, state and local government workers had the lowest unemployment rate compared to all other jobs on our list that resists during hard economic times.
Median hourly wage: $33.49
Median annual wage: $69,660
In the current context of the global pandemic, being an epidemiologist is one of the most important jobs out there. Also known as “disease detectives”, epidemiologists are now on the front lines, trying to find a treatment for the vicious coronavirus. Even before the age of COVID-19, epidemiologists have been dealing with other viruses such as HIV, Ebola and so on.
Epidemiologists work at federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and at state or local health departments. To occupy such positions, they are required to have a master’s degree in public health or a doctoral degree in epidemiology.
Median hourly wage: $23.85
Median annual wage: $49,620
Firefighters respond to fires and other emergencies, putting themselves in many life-threatening situations in order to save other people. Firefighters usually work in long shifts, such as 24 or 48 hours, but their schedule might vary depending on each fire department and location.
Those wanting to become firefighters do not need a college degree; they do, however, need to undergo specific training at a fire academy and an honest desire to help others.
Median hourly wage: $30.47
Median annual wage: $63,380
Crimes unfortunately happen regardless of economic activity. This means police officers and other law enforcement representatives such as detectives and federal agents, are just as busy protecting the community. Being public workers, they are somewhat safer from being laid off, but the unemployment rate is lower also because no one wants more crimes to add fuel to the recession fire.
According to a United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the high unemployment rates during the Great Recession led to a spike in crimes. Police officers are here to prevent this from happening again. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of law enforcement personnel is expected to grow in the following years.
Median hourly wage: $36.65
Median annual wage: $76,220
What does a budget analyst do? Well, as the name implies, budget analysts provide expert advice to various institutions, helping them organize and manage their finances. To become a government worker in charge of the budget forecasts and the like, you’ll need a college degree with specific classes in accounting, statistics and economics. Since governments will keep needing specialists to develop and execute budgets, demand for this job is expected to increase, even more so during a recession.
Median hourly wage: $29.49
Median annual wage: $61,340
Conservationist scientists protect, manage, and improve natural resources such as forests, parks and rangelands. They work for federal, state and local governments and require a college degree in science and computer technology. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for conservation scientists is expected to grow by at least seven percent over a decade. This demand is mainly due to the growing numbers of wildfires and the need for their prevention and suppression.
Median hourly wage: $35.12
Median annual wage: $73,050
Also called urban and regional planners, urban planners are specialists who develop plans and programs to optimize the effectiveness of land-use, accommodate population growth and community development.
With urbanization on the rise, demand for urban planners is projected to grow 11 percent from 2019 to 2029, based on data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Healthcare and Social Assistance
2007 unemployment rate: 2.6%
Peak unemployment rate during Great Recession: 5.7%
Change of unemployment rate during Great Recession: 119.23%
2020 unemployment rate: 2.2%
Forecasted recession peak unemployment rate: 4.8%
The healthcare and social assistance sector is also among the best ones to be a part of during a recession, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If we were to go by the data provided by BLS, the unemployment rates among healthcare and social assistance workers was quite low during the recession of 2007-2009. In case there’s another economic downturn, this sector is projected to have an unemployment rate below 5 percent.
Home Health Aide
Median hourly wage: $11.57
Median annual wage: $24,060
Just because there’s a recession, doesn’t mean people stop aging. In fact, the global average life expectancy has increased, and the older population has been growing in numbers, which means the demand for home health aides is also expected to grow. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities in this field are projected to grow by 36% through 2028.
Health care aides provide everything from companionship to basic health assistance, such as dressing, bathing and grooming, to people who have disabilities, chronic illnesses, cognitive impairments, or age-related problems.
Median hourly wage: $16.16
Median annual wage: $33,610
Another job that’s insulated from recession is that of a medical assistant. In fact, it’s one of the fastest-growing jobs on this list, involving working alongside physicians, nurses and other health professionals in medical offices and clinics.
Job opportunities in this sector are projected to increase by 23% over the next several years, as the number of Americans aged 65 and older will more than double over the next 40 years, according to the U.S. Census.
Median hourly wage: $42.27
Median annual wage: $87,930
Physical therapists are trained and licensed health care professionals who diagnose and provide treatment to people of all ages, mainly by physical means. Employment in this field is also projected to grow due to the growing number of older adults, many of them with mobility problems. Anyone who wants to become a physical therapist needs a doctor’s degree and state licensing.
Median hourly wage: $23.79
Median annual wage: $49,470
In the event of an economic downturn, because they operate in the public sector, social workers will most likely remain untouched. As a matter of fact, it is a fast-growing field, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Social workers work for federal, state and local governments and provide specialized help in mental health clinics, child welfare, senior centers and community development organizations. They also work in schools and private practices, helping people cope with the problems they are facing in their lives.
In the context of the pandemic, here are The Best and Worst States to Work from Home.
2007 unemployment rate: 2.7%
Peak unemployment rate during Great Recession: 7.7%
Change of unemployment rate during Great Recession: 185.19%
2020 unemployment rate: 1.6%
Projected future recession peak unemployment rate: 4.6%
The expected unemployment rate in the field of financial services is among the lowest on our list. More than that, financial services are paid quite well, compared to other jobs.
Accountant and Auditor
Median hourly wage: $33.89
Median annual wage: $70,500
Even if we are hit with a recession, we still need to file our taxes, right? For this very reason, accountants and auditors have one of the most recession-proof jobs out there. Individuals and businesses will still need help with their financial and tax records to avoid making mistakes that could cost them way more in the long term. Auditors are also required to perform audits for publicly traded companies.
Both jobs require a bachelor’s degree in accounting and various accounting certifications and licenses such as the CPA.
Median hourly wage: $30.31
Median annual wage: $63,040
Loan officers are specialists working in banks, credit unions, mortgage companies and other financial institutions, who provide assistance to customers in applying for loans and cultivating their businesses. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in this sector will see the fastest rise, compared to the average employment growth. Read also 7 Jobs That Didn’t Exist 10 Years Ago.
2007 unemployment rate: 4.1%
Peak unemployment rate during Great Recession: 10.0%
Change of unemployment rate during Great Recession: 143.9%
2020 unemployment rate: 2.8%
Forecasted recession peak unemployment rate: 6.8%
The jobs in this field are not paid quite like the ones in the previously mentioned sectors, but unemployment rates are relatively low in the event of a recession.
Animal Care Worker
Median hourly wage: $11.51
Median annual wage: $23,950
Animal care workers provide care for animals in kennels, zoos, animal shelters, veterinary clinics, pet stores and various other places. Their tasks include feeding, grooming, bathing, and training pets and other animals as well as observing behavioral changes that might be caused by an illness or injury.
To become an animal care worker, you need a high school diploma, love for animals and experience working with them. Job opportunities in this sector are projected to grow faster than the average growth across all occupations, revealed the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Auto Mechanics and Body Shops
Median hourly wage: $19.87
Median annual wage: $41,330
No matter how much you try to postpone it, if your car breaks down, you have no other choice but to take it to the car shop for repairs, recession or not. You can’t drive without breaks or transmission, can you? Not to mention that buying a new car during an economic downturn is not exactly the smartest move.
That being said, individuals working in auto mechanics and body shops will have their hands full even if times are harder. While this job can be physically demanding, in terms of education, you only need a college degree; industry certification and training in auto body repair is a plus and could bring you a higher paycheck.
Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technician
Median hourly wage: $20.99
Median annual wage: $43,660
Broadcast and sound engineering technicians are responsible for the electrical equipment that provides sounds and images for television, radio, movie and recording studios. Job growth in this sector is expected to increase by 9 percent in the next ten years, much faster than the average growth for all occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this demand will be generated by the need of businesses, schools, and entertainment industries to improve their audio and video capabilities.
Computer Support Specialist
Median hourly wage: $25.70
Median annual wage: $53,470
The Internet must go on. And computer support specialists can make this happen. These individuals are there to fix problems with software, computers, or peripherals such as printers or scanners and make sure users can perform their activities smoothly. Overall employment in this field is projected to grow 8 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average across all occupations, stated BLS.
To become a computer support specialist you need an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree. Being a help-desk support job, you might also need to work night shifts.
Median hourly wage: $24.00
Median annual wage: $49,930
The definition of an interpreter is “a person who provides an oral translation between speakers who speak different languages”. Given the growing number of non-English speakers in the United States, demand for skilled translators and interpreters is quite high. In fact, due to globalization, employment in this field is expected to see a 17 percent growth by 2026. To become an interpreter, you need a college degree and fluency in English and another language, according to the Department of Labor.