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25 Tried-and-True Jobs That Will Last Through Any Recession

Cameron Huddleston
·13 mins read

Due to the pandemic, many industries have struggled in 2020. The retail, restaurant and travel and leisure industries in particular have been hit hard as a result of lockdowns and social distancing requirements. Millions of Americans have been laid off and the unemployment rate, though steadily improving, is still at just under 8%.

If you’re among the many individuals who’ve had their professional lives upended, you might be asking yourself: When it comes to a recession, is any job safe?

Well, no job is truly recession-proof, but there are certain industries that will provide better job security than others. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, GOBankingRates identified five sectors — and several jobs within those sectors — that fared better during the Great Recession of December 2007 through June 2009 and should see lower unemployment rates than other sectors if the economy falls deeper into a recession.

If you’re in one of the worst jobs during a recession, you might want to consider looking for a new job in one of these industries.

Last updated: Oct. 8, 2020

Government Workers

  • 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%

  • Projected future recession peak unemployment rate: 3.7%

Government jobs appear to be more insulated from recessions than jobs in other industries. During the Great Recession, the unemployment rate among federal, state and local government workers was the lowest among all of the recession-proof jobs on this list. And the projected unemployment rate of 3.7% in a potential recession is the lowest on this list. Keep in mind, though, that some government jobs pay better than others.

Budget Analyst

  • Median hourly wage: $36.65

  • Median annual wage: $76,220

As the name suggests, budget analysts help public institutions manage their finances and allocate their funds. The job usually requires a college degree with courses in accounting, statistics and economics. Demand for this job is expected to grow as governments continue to need help managing their funds.

Conservation Scientist

  • Median hourly wage: $29.49

  • Median annual wage: $61,340

Conservation scientists typically work for federal, state and local governments helping manage parks, forests and other public lands. Demand for this job is expected to grow with the need for wildfire prevention and suppression.

Epidemiologist

  • Median hourly wage: $33.49

  • Median annual wage: $69,660

Epidemiologists are the scientists who currently are on the front lines in the battle against the spread of COVID-19. They work at federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and at health departments for state and local governments to investigate the causes of diseases and help contain outbreaks. This job typically requires a master’s degree in public health or a doctoral degree in epidemiology.

Firefighter

  • Median hourly wage: $23.85

  • Median annual wage: $49,620

Firefighters tend to work more than 40 hours a week but do so in 24-hour (or longer) shifts to respond to fires and emergencies. The job doesn’t require a college degree but does require training at a fire academy.

Related: Notoriously Underpaid Jobs

Police Officer

  • Median hourly wage: $30.47

  • Median annual wage: $63,380

Even during recessions, police officers continue to work to protect communities. The job can be dangerous, stressful and physically demanding. But demand for public safety officers is expected to grow over the next several years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Urban Planner

  • Median hourly wage: $35.12

  • Median annual wage: $73,050

Local governments hire urban planners to develop plans for land use, community development and population growth. Demand for this job is expected to grow as cities grow and need help accommodating demographic, transportation and environmental changes, according to 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%

  • Projected future recession peak unemployment rate: 4.8%

There’s a strong need for healthcare and social assistance workers — even during a recession. Among the most recession-proof jobs, this industry saw the smallest percentage increase in unemployment during the Great Recession.

In the event of another recession, unemployment among healthcare and social assistance workers is expected to remain below 5%.

Home Health Aide

  • Median hourly wage: $11.57

  • Median annual wage: $24,060

Home health aides help care for people with physical disabilities and cognitive impairments such as dementia. Demand for home health aides is expected to grow as people live longer and the elderly population increases. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment in this field will increase 36% through 2028.

Related: 16 Best Career Decisions To Make When the Stock Market Is Seesawing

Medical Assistant

  • Median hourly wage: $16.16

  • Median annual wage: $33,610

This fast-growing job involves assisting with administrative and clinical tasks in hospitals, doctors’ offices and healthcare facilities. Employment in this field is expected to grow 23% over the next several years as the demand for medical services increases among America’s aging population, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Nurse Anesthetist

  • Median hourly wage: $80.75

  • Median annual wage: $167,950

Nurse anesthetist is one of the highest paying jobs in healthcare and a fast-growing field. It involves administering anesthesia and working with surgical teams and requires a master’s degree, advanced certification and state licensing.

Physical Therapist

  • Median hourly wage: $42.27

  • Median annual wage: $87,930

Physical therapists help people manage pain and improve mobility. Demand for this job is expected to grow along with the increasing number of elderly adults. It requires a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree and state licensing.

Rehabilitation Counselor

  • Median hourly wage: $17.13

  • Median annual wage: $35,630

As with most jobs in the healthcare and social assistance field, demand for rehabilitation counselors is expected to grow along with the increase in America’s elderly population. This job requires a master’s degree and involves helping people with physical, mental, emotional or developmental disabilities live independently.

Read: The 50 Most Dangerous Jobs for Contracting COVID-19

Social Worker

  • Median hourly wage: $23.79

  • Median annual wage: $49,470

Federal, state and local governments employ social workers to work in mental health clinics, child welfare and human service agencies and community development organizations. Social workers also work in schools and in private clinics. This job typically requires a master’s degree and state licensing. Social work is a good field to be in because it’s a fast-growing occupation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Financial Activities

  • 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 projected unemployment rate in the financial services industry is among the lowest on this list. Plus, jobs in this industry tend to pay well.

Accountant and Auditor

  • Median hourly wage: $33.89

  • Median annual wage: $70,500

Accountants and auditors work with individuals and businesses to prepare financial and tax records for them. The job typically requires a bachelor’s degree in accounting and often additional certifications, such as a Certified Public Accountant designation.

Credit Counselor

  • Median hourly wage: $21.72

  • Median annual wage: $45,180

This job doesn’t pay as well as other financial services jobs. But the need for this position can increase during a recession because credit counselors help individuals create budgets and develop debt management plans. Credit counselors also can work for lenders and provide guidance to borrowers.

Financial Analyst

  • Median hourly wage: $41.18

  • Median annual wage: $85,660

Financial analysts help individuals and businesses make decisions about how to invest. The job typically requires a bachelor’s degree, and employment growth in this field is expected to be strong.

Financial Examiner

  • Median hourly wage: $38.55

  • Median annual wage: $80,180

Financial examiners ensure that financial services companies comply with the laws that govern them. Jobs in this field are expected to grow over the next several years as companies need more help complying with federal regulations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Loan Officer

  • Median hourly wage: $30.31

  • Median annual wage: $63,040

Loan officers work at banks, credit unions, mortgage companies and other financial institutions. They evaluate loan applications and decide whether to lend money to individuals and businesses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that employment growth for this job will be faster than the average job growth across all occupations.

Personal Financial Advisor

  • Median hourly wage: $42.73

  • Median annual wage: $88,890

This job involves helping people manage their finances. It typically requires a bachelor’s degree as well as an additional professional certification. Because demand for financial planning is expected to rise, job growth in this field is expected to be faster than across other occupations.

Other Services

  • 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%

  • Projected future recession peak unemployment rate: 6.8%

This sector includes repair and maintenance workers, personal care services and religious and social advocacy services. These jobs usually don’t come with big paychecks, but they do tend to weather recessions well.

Animal Care Worker

  • Median hourly wage: $11.51

  • Median annual wage: $23,950

Animal care workers help care for animals in kennels, zoos, animal shelters, veterinary clinics and a variety of other settings. The job typically requires just a high school diploma and experience working with animals. Job growth in this field is expected to be faster than the average for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Automotive Body Repair

  • Median hourly wage: $19.87

  • Median annual wage: $41,330

This job can be physically demanding and require working in noisy, cramped auto body shops. It doesn’t require a college degree, but having industry certification and training in auto body repair can increase the chances of employment.

Keep Reading: 30 Ways Offices Are Changing as Companies Plan To Reopen

Childcare Worker

  • Median hourly wage: $11.17

  • Median annual wage: $23,240

Childcare workers play a vital role because they care for children while their parents work and contribute to the economy. However, wages tend to be low because the job often doesn’t have specific education requirements.

Funeral Service Worker

  • Median hourly wage: $27.68

  • Median annual wage: $57,580

This job can require long hours and working on weekends to manage the details of funerals. However, it is one of the most recession-proof jobs because there always will be a need for funeral services.

HVAC Mechanic

  • Median hourly wage: $22.89

  • Median annual wage: $47,610

Job growth for heating, ventilation and air conditioning mechanics is expected to be strong, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The job typically requires postsecondary training and an apprenticeship to learn how to install and repair complex HVAC systems.

Line Installer and Repairer

  • Median hourly wage: $31.67

  • Median annual wage: $65,880

This is a dangerous job that pays well. Line installers must work with high-voltage electricity at great heights to install and repair electrical power systems and telecommunication cables.

Information

  • 2007 unemployment rate: 4.0%

  • Peak unemployment rate during Great Recession: 11.5%

  • Change of unemployment rate during Great Recession: 187.50%

  • 2020 unemployment rate: 2.6%

  • Projected future recession peak unemployment rate: 7.5%

Information sector jobs aren’t as insulated from recessions as other jobs on this list. However, this industry – which includes media, telecommunications, data processing, motion picture and sound recording – does fare better during downturns than most other industries and shouldn’t see a high unemployment rate in the next recession.

Check Out: 10 Essential Jobs Across America With Big Paychecks for Employees

Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technician

  • Median hourly wage: $20.99

  • Median annual wage: $43,660

Broadcast and sound engineering technicians will be in demand as businesses, schools and the entertainment industry boost their audio and visual capabilities, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs are available in radio, television, movie and recording studios and involve operating broadcasting and sound equipment.

Computer Support Specialist

  • Median hourly wage: $25.70

  • Median annual wage: $53,470

Computer support specialists help organizations with their computer equipment and software. The job can require an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree and can involve working nights and weekends to help provide 24-hour computer support.

Database Administrator

  • Median hourly wage: $43.31

  • Median annual wage: $90,070

This job typically requires a computer science degree and involves maintaining databases for companies and educational institutions. The number of database administrator jobs is expected to grow over the next several years as data needs of companies grow.

Information Security Analyst

  • Median hourly wage: $47.28

  • Median annual wage: $98,350

Information security analysts work for computer companies, consulting firms and financial institutions to develop security measures to protect computer networks from hackers. Demand for this job will be strong as companies look for solutions to prevent data breaches, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Interpreter

  • Median hourly wage: $24.00

  • Median annual wage: $49,930

The demand for interpreters and translators will continue to grow with the increasing number of non-English speakers in the U.S. Interpreters work in schools, hospitals, courtrooms and for various companies and organizations. The job typically requires a college degree and fluency in English and another language.

Technical Writers

  • Median hourly wage: $35.54

  • Median annual wage: $71,850

Writers who can prepare instruction manuals, how-to guides and journal articles are in demand. Employment growth for this job is expected to be 8% over the next several years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

More From GOBankingRates

Chris Jennings contributed to the reporting for this article.

Methodology: GOBankingRates gathered unemployment data by industry from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the years 2007 through 2020. With this data, GOBankingRates looked at the five following factors: (1) November 2007 unemployment rate by industry; (2) peak unemployment rate by industry during the Great Recession (December 2007 through March 2010); (3) percent change of unemployment rate by industry during Great Recession from November 2007 to peak during Great Recession; (4) February 2020 unemployment rate by industry; and (5) potential future recession peak unemployment rate, which was calculated by multiplying factor No. 3 by factor No. 4 and adding back to factor No. 4. Factors No. 1 and 3 through 5 were then scored and combined with the lowest score being best to determine the industries that are the most recession-proof. Factors No. 1 and 4 were weight 1/2 times during ranking. All data was up to date as of March 23, 2020.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 25 Tried-and-True Jobs That Will Last Through Any Recession