Economists say the top 4 ‘recession-proof’ industries to work in

Warnings of an impending recession have reached fever pitch. Inflation continues to soar, causing chaos in the stock market, and companies are beginning to prepare for the worst with layoffs, hiring freezes and, in some extreme cases, the cancellation of job offers. use.

The sudden shift in labor market dynamics — after months of good job prospects and rising employee wages — has left many American workers scratching their heads.

“The job outlook is going to get worse” in the coming months, Laurence Ball, a professor of economics at Johns Hopkins University, told CNBC Make It. “The question is, ‘How much worse?'”

If you’re thinking of changing roles in the near future, know that while no job is completely recession proof, some industries tend to fare worse than others during downturns.

During the Great Recession, which lasted from 2007 to 2009, the construction and manufacturing sectors experienced significant declines in employment, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Indeed, during an economic downturn, people typically limit discretionary spending and delay big purchases, including cars and new homes, says Karen Dynan, professor of economics at Harvard University and former chief economist at US Treasury. She predicts that these industries will experience similar trends if a recession were to occur soon.

However, Ball and Dynan say the most so-called “recession-proof” industries to work in include healthcare, government, and computers and information technology, all of which can offer a strong job security during economic downturns.

The common thread between these industries, Ball says, is that they are less sensitive to changes in interest rates and people depend on these services “whether the economy is booming or in recession.”

Education is another stable sector in difficult times, he adds, even as schools hard to hire and retaining staff in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Ball expects there will be increased demand for staff at colleges and universities across the United States if a recession hits, as more people will look to higher education “as a way to acquire new skills and improve their employment prospects.

“People are more likely to go to college if the job market is bad,” he says. “And if you graduate from college and the job market still looks bleak, graduate school becomes much more attractive.”

Whether you’re looking for a new job or not, Dynan emphasizes the importance of honing your job skills so you can be a more competitive and valuable worker. Find out which skills appear most often in the jobs you’re interested in and start practicing them, or ask your boss if your company offers professional development courses or webinars.

“There’s not much you can do beyond your normal job responsibilities,” she says. “But learning the skills employers are looking for and being able to perform them well is your best insurance.”

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