GOBankingRates

6 Industries That Are Recession-Proof

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Many industries have struggled because of the pandemic. The retail, restaurant, travel and leisure industries, in particular, were hit hard as a result of lockdowns and social distancing requirements. Millions of Americans were laid off and the unemployment rate has made significant rebound holding steady at a reasonable 3.6%.

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Even with improved unemployment, if you’re among the many individuals who had their professional lives upended, you might wonder: When it comes to a recession, is any job safe?

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.

These 6 industries should see lower unemployment rates than other sectors if the economy falls deeper into a recession.

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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: 1.5%
  • 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 5.1% 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, storage and distribution managers, compliance officers, economists and more.

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Healthcare and Social Assistance

  • 2007 unemployment rate: 2.6%
  • Peak unemployment rate during Great Recession: 5.1%
  • Change of unemployment rate during Great Recession: 119.23%
  • 2020 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 the pandemic, 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 at 5%.

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

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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: 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.

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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: 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.

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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: 2.3%
  • 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.

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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: 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, but they do tend to weather recessions well.

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

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Jordan Rosenfeld contributed to the reporting of this article.

Methodology: GOBankingRates, in order to find industries 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) March 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 weighed 0.5 times during ranking. All data was up to date as of April 21, 2022.

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