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7 Industries That Are Recession-Proof

·4 min read
dusanpetkovic / Getty Images/iStockphoto
dusanpetkovic / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Two years ago, many industries struggled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with retail, restaurant, travel and leisure sectors, in particular, hit hard as millions of Americans were laid off and the unemployment rate soared.

Now, inflation has hampered the economic recovery, with worries about recession hovering. Recessions are cyclical in the American economy, and whether a recession comes now or down the road, would your job survive?

In fact, when it comes to a recession, is any job safe?

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While no job is truly recession-proof, there are certain industries that will provide better job security than others. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, GOBankingRates identified six sectors that fared better during the Great Recession of December 2007 through June 2009 and projected the potential future recession peak unemployment rate.

These seven industries should see lower unemployment rates than other sectors if the economy falls deeper into a recession.

TommL / Getty Images
TommL / Getty Images

Government

  • 2007 unemployment rate: 2.2%

  • Peak unemployment rate during Great Recession: 5.1%

  • Change of unemployment rate during Great Recession: 131.82%

  • May 2022 unemployment rate: 1.5%

  • Projected future recession peak unemployment rate: 3.5%

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 3.5% in a potential recession is the lowest on this list. Keep in mind, though, that some government jobs pay better than others.

Jobs in this field include: Legislators, transportation specialists, engineers, storage and distribution managers, compliance officers, economists and more.

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Stígur Már Karlsson /Heimsmynd
Stígur Már Karlsson /Heimsmynd

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%

  • May 2022 unemployment rate: 2.3%

  • Projected future recession peak unemployment rate: 5.0%

There's a strong need for healthcare and social assistance workers -- especially with the increased demands of COVID-19 and 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 hit 5%.

Jobs in this sector include: Home health aides, licensed vocational nurses, medical and health services managers, and more.

dima_sidelnikov / iStock.com
dima_sidelnikov / iStock.com

Financial Activities

  • 2007 unemployment rate: 2.7%

  • Peak unemployment rate during Great Recession: 7.7%

  • Change of unemployment rate during Great Recession: 185.19%

  • May 2022 unemployment rate: 2%

  • Projected future recession peak unemployment rate: 5.7%

The projected unemployment rate in the financial services industry is on the lower side, but not the lowest on the list. Plus, jobs in this industry tend to pay well.

Jobs in this sector include: Accountants and auditors, budget analysts, human resource specialists, insurance underwriters and more.

Asia-Pacific Images Studio / iStock.com
Asia-Pacific Images Studio / iStock.com

Professional and Business Services

  • 2007 unemployment rate: 4.8%

  • Peak unemployment rate during Great Recession: 12.4%

  • Change of unemployment rate during Great Recession: 158.33%

  • May 2022 unemployment rate: 1.7%

  • Projected future recession peak unemployment rate: 4.4%

The May 2022 unemployment rate for workers in the professional and business services sector is second-lowest on the list, behind only government workers. And in a future recession, it is projected to stay No. 2 at 4.4%.

Jobs in this sector include: Accountants, management, sports and entertainment agents, securities and credit, and more.

alvarez / Getty Images
alvarez / Getty Images

Nondurable-Goods Manufacturing

  • 2007 unemployment rate: 5.3%

  • Peak unemployment rate during Great Recession: 12.0%

  • Change of unemployment rate during Great Recession: 126.42%

  • May 2022 unemployment rate: 2.5%

  • Projected future recession peak unemployment rate: 5.7%

The nondurable-goods manufacturing segment reached 12% unemployment during the Great Recession, but the prospects are better in a potential future recession. The peak unemployment rate is projected at 5.7%.

Jobs in this sector include: Truck drivers, sales representatives, freight and stock movers, and shipping, receiving and traffic clerks, and others.

Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

Information

  • 2007 unemployment rate: 4.0%

  • Peak unemployment rate during Great Recession: 11.5%

  • Change of unemployment rate during Great Recession: 187.50%

  • May 2022 unemployment rate: 2.3%

  • Projected future recession peak unemployment rate: 6.6%

Information sector jobs aren't as insulated from recessions as other jobs on this list. However, this industry does fare better during downturns than most other industries and shouldn't see as high of an unemployment rate in the next recession.

Jobs in this sector include: Media, telecommunications, data processing, motion picture and sound recording, to name a few.

FlamingoImages / Getty Images/iStockphoto
FlamingoImages / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Other Services

  • 2007 unemployment rate: 4.1%

  • Peak unemployment rate during Great Recession: 10.0%

  • Change of unemployment rate during Great Recession: 143.9%

  • May 2022 unemployment rate: 3.2%

  • Projected future recession peak unemployment rate: 7.8%

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, and the category has the highest projected future recession peak unemployment rate at 7.8%.

Jobs in this sector include: Automotive service technicians, first line supervisors, hairdressers and cosmetologists, and laundry and dry cleaning workers.

More From GOBankingRates

Jami Farkas and Jordan Rosenfeld contributed to the reporting for this article.

Methodology: GOBankingRates, to find jobs that are recession-proof, gathered data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: Table A-14 for the years 2007-2020, which displays unemployed persons by industry and class of worker, not seasonally adjusted. 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-March 2010); (3) percent change of unemployment rate by industry during Great Recession from November 2007 to peak during Great Recession; (4) May 2022 unemployment rate by industry; and (5) potential future recession peak unemployment rate, which was calculated by multiplying factor (3) by factor (4) and adding back to factor (4). Factors (1) and (3-5) were then scored and combined with the lowest score being best to determine the industries that are the most recession-proof. Factors (1) and (4) were weighted  0.5 times during ranking. All data was up to date as of June 13, 2022.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 7 Industries That Are Recession-Proof