Right now looking for a job is akin to getting dental surgery. It’s something you know you need to do, but you’re more inclined to put it off until the situation is dire (i.e, your teeth are ready to fall out or you run out of money). There’s nothing more discouraging than having the door slammed in your face by an industry you’ve devoted your career to. And conversely, if you’re just starting out, there’s nothing more confusing than trying to second guess the economy to determine where the jobs will be in 10 years.

In either case, the best you can do is concentrate on the here and now. Believe it or not, there are some career fields that do quite well in a bad economy, making it that much easier to get a job. These are also the jobs that tend to remain secure in any type of economic hiccup, mainly because they keep a town’s infrastructure from falling apart.

So if you’re currently in a position of looking for new work opportunities, or you’re about to take your first step onto a career path, you might want to consider these four industries before you make a commitment:

  1. Healthcare
  2. This doesn’t mean you have to fork out the money for medical school after you just broke the bank paying for an undergraduate degree. Not everyone has to grow up to be a doctor. On the contrary, doctors are only a small fraction of the healthcare industry. Nursing, hospital administration, medical assistance, and nursing education are all areas of healthcare that currently offer well-paying jobs, even in a down economy. In fact, many cities can’t keep up with the demand right now, so they’re recruiting out-of-state.

    And since nursing schools are more popular than ever, the need for teachers at nursing schools has grown considerably. Therefore, if you have skills in the areas of math, science, technology, or even the insurance industry, you could apply those skills at a nursing school, with just a little bit of extra training to get you up to speed as a teacher.

  3. Law Enforcement
  4. There is always a need for local policemen, and yes the risks can be high (depending on where you live), but the starting pay is good and the family benefits have remained some of the best of any given industry. Even though a college education is recommended, but not required, for a career in law enforcement, you’ll still have to complete the program at your state’s local police academy. Like the military, salary increases for police work are regular and attached to a pay scale based on rank. If you’re motivated you can work on increasing your rank (and thus, your pay) while on the job.

    And if you enjoy the idea of law enforcement, but prefer the safety of a desk job, there are other areas you of the law you can go into, including dispatch, court reporter, paralegal, internal affairs, and even the local FBI. And of course, if you have the time and money you can go to law school. Private practice is lucrative (but unpredictable because you’re self-employed) however, state law offices are always looking for public defenders and assistant district attorneys.

  5. Government Jobs
  6. Everything from Nondestructive Tester for the Air Force to Physical Therapist at the Veteran’s Health Administration to Consumer Response Executive at the Treasury Department, the federal government is hiring right now. Why? Mainly because government has to keep running, even if (or especially if) the economy is in the dumper; but also because the stimulus bill has routed cash to a lot of government-related jobs.

    So where do you find these jobs? The best place is to start at The USAJobs Working for America website. USAJobs is the official job website of the United States Federal Government. It’s the single repository for federal government job info for civilian positions, including who’s hiring and exactly where these jobs are located.

  7. City Workers
  8. Okay, some of these positions may not be glamorous, but they are steady work with decent pay and good benefits. Garbage collectors, meter maids, and street cleaners are in demand right now, and since they’re funded by the city payroll job security is typically not a problem (depending on how efficiently your city’s budget is maintained).

Ironically, librarians are also in demand right now (and are hired by the city), mainly due to the fact that many people looking for work use their local library as their “office” when searching job websites and typing up resumes. A librarian typically requires a college degree in library sciences, however, many libraries also hire library assistants, which requires less formal training.

So if you’re looking for a new career you might want to consider jobs that stand the test of time, even in an unpredictable economy. Although there’s no such thing as true job security you can at least stack the deck in your favor by choosing a career that’s as stalwart as your unwavering need to bring home a consistent (yet lucrative) paycheck.

Do you know of an additional career that defies the pressures of a bad economy? Or have you had success (or failure) with one of the careers mentioned above? Post a comment and let us know. We (and our readers) would love to hear about it.

5 comments on “The 4 Best Career Industries in a Bad Economy

  • I hate to be the one to bring the bad news, but the careers you have listed are all taking hits right now in this poor economy.

    1) Healthcare workers who were normally retired are now re-entering the workforce thereby making it harder for new graduates to find work. There are numerous articles floating around that describe the frustration of new nursing grads unable to find work–despite the general opinion that nursing was a recession-proof career.

    2) I’ll sum up Law Enforcement, Government Jobs, and City Workers into a single category of “Public Sector Employment”. Again, there is a general misconception that public sector employment is recession proof. Yet, with the major downturn in the housing market also comes a reduction in revenues acquired from the mortgage tax. Combine the reduction in revenue from this local/state tax with the reduction in revenue from the sales tax due to less spending by consumers, and there is an obvious concern of how to sustain government spending. As a result, many cities and states have enacted hiring and salary freezes. So, while it is true that government will always be around, there are no guarantees of landing a solid public sector job at this time.

  • Thanks, Tim, for weighing on my blog about the best career options in a bad economy. While I agree with you that the careers I mention are taking hits (as every career is right now) I still contend that these are the lesser of all evils. For example, in yesterday’s report from the Bureau of Labor statistics in March alone over 37,000 of the new jobs created for that month were in health care, which doesn’t necessarily mean just nursing. In fact, the bulk of these jobs were not nurses, but instead were medical assistants, technicians, nursing school teachers, and hospital administrators. And as for government workers, true in some states (such as Ohio and Minnesota) state government jobs have decreased since January (when I wrote the original article), especially in public education. However, other states (such as Utah, where economic growth is actually a little higher than the rest of the country) are hiring state workers for things like road construction and city planning. Plus, federal level civilian jobs are actually on the rise. So it really just depends on where you are and what type of government job you apply for.

    However, I do agree with you in that NO job or career is completely recession-proof (and I never said the ones I mentioned were). Anybody is fair game in a lay-off. However, there have been some industries that have taken less of the hit than others, and that’s all I meant to point out in my article. Regardless, I appreciate your comments and I’ll take them to heart in future blogs I post. Thanks again for reading and sharing your thoughts. Stacy

  • New trend: Dumbing down a resume to get a job
    Many employers don’t want to hire someone they see as being overqualified. They reason that as soon as the economy begins to pick up, that employee will return to a more suitable level, leaving them with an unfilled position and a wasted time training the person. Good point I think.
    Source: Traprenovatie Hartflooring

  • This website page says in bold letters: #1 HEATHCARE – Uh, I think you mean HEALTHCARE!!! (You forgot the L!!!)

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