4 Jobs To Reconsider Amid Looming Recession and What Makes Them So Risky

Building worker in in protection glasses and uniform with perforator drilling the wall outdoors.
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Recessions are never good for the job market because companies tend to cut back on hiring — and in some cases, even slash payrolls. But things might be a little different with this year’s looming recession, which one Federal Reserve tracker says is already underway.

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Because of a prolonged labor shortage in the United States, triggered in part by the Great Resignation, many companies are still scrambling to fill positions. That’s the case even with the threat of a recession.

“There remains a tremendous imbalance between number of candidates and number of openings, and that’s not going to go away soon,” Jim Kwapick, district director of Robert Half International, told CBS Minnesota in a recent interview.

That doesn’t mean some jobs won’t be more vulnerable to cuts than others. It really depends on the sector. Certain industries — including government, healthcare and nondurable-goods manufacturing — tend to be recession-proof, but others take a major hit.

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“A way to think about that is which sectors or segments of the economy would I consider to be a need versus a want,” Kwapick said.

“Want” sectors that struggle during a recession include hospitality, retail and travel. Here are four jobs that could leave you underemployed or unemployed during a recession, as cited by the TopResume website:

Building and Construction

The construction industry often mirrors the economy. When the economy is humming, construction companies go into high gear and jobs are in heavy demand. But when a recession hits, construction companies have less access to capital and put projects on hold, leading to fewer jobs. This affects the entire building industry – from roofers and carpenters to electricians and plumbers. Supporting industries such as lumber and cement manufacturing are also impacted.

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Home Furnishing Retail

Economic downturns cause consumers to cut back on non-essential items, and among the first items to get pushed to the back burner are home furnishings. People are hesitant to fork over large sums of money on new bedroom suites or expensive rugs when they’re worried about paying bills and building savings. This, in turn, negatively impacts home furnishing retail jobs, from senior management positions to store clerks, delivery drivers and warehouse staff.

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Auto/Motor Vehicle Sales

Similarly, consumers often delay buying big-ticket items such as cars, RVs, boats and motorcycles during a recession, opting instead to pay for repairs on existing vehicles. That bodes well for auto mechanics during a recession, but not so much for people who work in jobs such as vehicle sales, support and lending.

Hospitality

Families still take vacations during economic downturns, but those vacations look very different in a recession, TopResume noted. Instead of jetting off to exotic locales halfway around the world, they might hop into a car and drive 100 miles to a nearby beach, lake or mountain community. Business travel also declines during recessions as companies slash their budgets. These trends make hospitality jobs especially vulnerable during a recession.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.

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