The best recession-proof jobs

In The Little Book of Bull Moves in Bear Markets (which I recently reviewed), author Peter Schiff provides a list of the best jobs to beat the economic collapse he predicts is just around the corner. “I foresee the following as the 10 strongest professions and industries over the coming decade and beyond,” he writes. His list:

  1. Engineering, because the abandoned U.S. industrial base will need to be re-tooled.
  2. Construction, to rebuild the American infrastructure.
  3. Agriculture, as we wean ourselves from imported foodstuffs.
  4. Merchant marine, to transport goods to foreign markets.
  5. Commercial fishing, because demand for fish is increasing in the U.S. even as foreign supply is declining.
  6. Energy, because we’ll need to develop alternatives to fossil fuels.
  7. Computers and high technology, one field in which the U.S. continues to lead.
  8. Entertainment, another industry in which the U.S. should continue to dominate the world market.
  9. Automotive repair, small appliance repair, and the like. It’s going to become more costly to replace items, making repair a viable option.
  10. Tailoring and textiles, because imported clothes will become scarcer and more expensive.

This list is predicated on Schiff’s belief that the U.S. economy is in massive collapse. He also lists job sectors he believes will decline sharply: the service economy, banking and finance, real estate, health care, travel and tourism, and retailing. If you have a job in one of these industries, Schiff recommends planning for a career change.

Schiff’s advice made me curious. What do other experts think are the safest jobs for riding out this recession? I did some digging to find out.

A Second Opinion

There’s actually a new book out on this subject called 150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs by Laurence Shatkin, a career information consultant. His top ten recession-proof jobs are:

  1. Computer systems analyst
  2. Network systems and data communications analyst
  3. Network and computer systems administrator
  4. Registered nurse
  5. Teacher, postsecondary (i.e., college professors)
  6. Physical therapist
  7. Physician and surgeon
  8. Dental hygienist
  9. Pharmacist
  10. Medical and health services manager

The San Diego Union-Tribune recently featured a profile of Shatkin and his book, in which he explains that he derived his list from government statistics. Contrast this with Schiff’s list, which is based not on past data, but on his prediction of the future. It seems to me that these men are coming at the problem from different angles, and their lists reflect that. They’re nearly opposites.

Challenger, Gray and Christmas

There are other experts with their own ideas about which jobs are best in a recession. Representatives from the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas made the rounds earlier this year with their list of recession-proof jobs, which included the following rising professions:

  1. Education
  2. Energy
  3. Health care
  4. International business
  5. Environment
  6. Security and law enforcement

They also note a few jobs in which the prospects are declining:

  • Anything related to housing (including real estate, investment banking, engineering, and architecture)
  • State and local government
  • Industries dependent on discretionary spending (e.g. restaurants and retail)

The advice from Challenger, Gray and Christmas is slightly different than that of either of the first two lists. The only real agreement among these three different sources is that industries related to housing and to discretionary spending are in for hard times.

The Jobfox list

Finally, Jobfox, a job-matching website, has been sharing its list of the top 20 in-demand jobs based on statistics for the past year. Forbes published a version of the list, as did Business Week, which created a slide show including median salaries for these careers:

  1. Sales representative/business development ($65,000-$75,000)
  2. Software design/development ($85,000-$95,000)
  3. Nursing ($35,000-$45,000)
  4. Accounting & finance executive ($65,000-$75,000)
  5. Accounting staff ($45,000-$55,000)
  6. Networking/systems administration ($65,000-$75,000)
  7. Administrative assistant ($35,000-$45,000)
  8. Business analysis (software implementation) ($85,000-$95,000)
  9. Business analysis (research) ($65,000-$75,000)
  10. Finance staff ($65,000-$75,000)
  11. Project management ($85,000-$95,000)
  12. Testing/quality assurance ($65,000-$75,000)
  13. Product management ($85,000-$95,000)
  14. Database administration ($75,000-$85,000)
  15. Account/customer support ($35,000-$45,000)
  16. Technology executive ($115,000-$125,000)
  17. Electrical engineering ($65,000-$75,000)
  18. Sales executive ($85,000-$95,000)
  19. Mechanical engineering ($65,000-$75,000)
  20. Government contracts administration ($55,000-$65,000)

This list points to three broad paths for those wishing to avoid the effects of the recession: management, computer science, and accounting. But again, this list is very different from the others.

Aside: Looking at these median salaries makes me a little envious. During 2007, the median salary for guys named J.D. employed by small family box factories in Oregon was $42,000 a year. I wonder how much sooner I might have repaid my debt if I’d done something else for a career…like become a “technology executive”.

Four Experts, Four Opinions

What conclusion do you draw from looking at these lists? The top lesson I get is that nobody can agree on which jobs are best for riding out a recession. As we’ve seen time and again when people try to predict the future, everybody has a different methodology, and everybody comes to a different conclusion. Nobody will be 100% correct.

I believe that in general, the most recession-proof job is the one you already have. If your current career is fulfilling and pays well, then do what you can to make yourself indispensable. Develop your skill-set. Be a valuable contributor. Keep a positive attitude. Network your way to job security. These things won’t help if your company undergoes massive lay-offs, but they will protect you from casual culling.

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There are 114 comments to "The best recession-proof jobs".

  1. Writer's Coin says 12 November 2008 at 05:10

    I go through the same thing when I look at other salaries, it’s kind of depressing. I always think I should’ve gone into engineering or accounting–I was decent with numbers. But I decided to go with something that moves me besides money, and now I’m trying to catch up to the money. At least I’m happy.

  2. Ben Dinsmore says 12 November 2008 at 05:10

    I am very fortunate that I got into the profession that I am in when I did. I am a merchant mariner (merchant Marine) who got into working for an oil company early on when oil was only $10.

    I am trying to hedge my career right now with a second business as an alternative energy/green living guru..

    I know what you are thinking, how can an oil guy be an alternative energy/green living guy at the same time? Isn’t that “against the rules”. Oh well, its been working out so far, when that one breakthough energy comes through and drives oil prices to the bottom, at least I will have a foot in the door with my alternative energy site!

  3. Ryan McLean says 12 November 2008 at 05:22

    Being a freelance writer is a ressession-proof job because we live in the information age and people are always after information…whether we are in a recession on in a financial boom. The recession should only last a few years and won’t be as big as the depression so writing is a great job

  4. ekrabs says 12 November 2008 at 05:29

    I think part of the problem here is that I think each author/site has a different idea on what the would-be recession will look like.

    I agree that the best way to get through a recession is to simply hang on to the job that you do have (assuming that you like it). Recession or not, you’re fine so long as you have income.

    If one is actually considering career moves and want it to be recession-proof, I’d stay with industries that caters to basic necessities. Insurance and healthcare are two such examples.

  5. Chris H says 12 November 2008 at 05:31

    Note the last part. If you’re working for a company that looks like it’s in trouble start tossing your resume out into the job wilderness again; otherwise just be really good at what you do, and they’ll have a really hard time getting rid of you.
    If you can avoid it, don’t get pigeon-holed as the “go-to” in one area, even if you get really good at it. Its always best to be good but still flexible with what you do.

  6. elisabeth says 12 November 2008 at 05:43

    I have to laugh at the idea that college/university teaching is a recession hedge. There are thousands of people who spent many years (in history, for example, the average is around 10) training for jobs that didn’t exist. Sure, IF you get a tenure track job and then 6-7 years later earn tenure, you’re set for life. But institutions of higher learning are moving toward contract postions, more part time adjuncts (with no benefits) and other ways to reduce the cost of hiring faculty, and I wouldn’t include higher ed teaching on any list of good jobs to aim for.
    Having said all that, I loved graduate school and don’t regret those years or the fact that our lives aren’t as rich in funds as those of our friends who went straight into professions, from college or even from graduate school… it took us longer to get ‘adult’ jobs and we won’t have as much put away, but we also learned how to live on little and had years of the life of the mind, which was great!

  7. T says 12 November 2008 at 06:15

    Marketing and sales.

    All business depends on customers.

    (That is, as long as we have a market economy. If we go the way of socialism, I would recommend civil service jobs.)

  8. EscapeVelocity says 12 November 2008 at 06:22

    I also tried the academic route, which definitely doesn’t work for most people since overproduction is built into the system. I’m running scared now after all those years of not saving anything, but it was a lot of fun, and I got in a lot of travel I’ll never have time and money for again.

    My job isn’t fulfilling, but it has a defined-benefit pension plan, so right now it’s looking pretty good.

  9. f says 12 November 2008 at 06:31

    If you enjoyed the family job, then I would guess that the reduced pay (compared to other professions you might have chosen instead) was worth it. If not…$42,000 a year? Man, I feel bad for you.

  10. Someone says 12 November 2008 at 06:36

    @elisabeth and @EscapeVelocity: Note that the “Education” bit didn’t specifically say “professorship”. There are lots of kinds of educational institutions, and many, many kinds of jobs within them.

  11. Starving Artist says 12 November 2008 at 06:41

    I’m a technical writer and with this recession coming on, I feel like I have a pretty good skill set. My job pays well and isn’t tied to a particular industry.

  12. Rainy says 12 November 2008 at 06:43

    I’ve made my living in retail and the clerical fields for the last 12 years, or at least, supplemented my family’s income that way. Now that I’m a single mum raising two teenagers, it is pretty obvious that this career path is fairly precarious. I’ve gone back to nursing school to get my RN, because one area I do believe will remain constant no matter what the economy does is healthcare. People will always need healthcare, and community based, nurse-oriented healthcare is, I think, the future. With more and more doctors going into specialties and not general care, nurses will fill the gap. I’m not even looking to get rich from this career change, just something fairly recession proof that will make my rent and pay the bills, with adequate leftover to save for my retirement. Since I’m out of work and having trouble finding new work in the retail sector right now, I’m taking a heavy class load and trying to get through my program as fast as possible. Seems an efficient use of unemployed time.

  13. Evelyn says 12 November 2008 at 06:47

    J.D. in regards to your aside..Don’t be envious, think about how much more debt you would have had due to lifestyle inflation if you were a “technology executive”.

    Thanks for another great article.

  14. Peggy says 12 November 2008 at 06:56

    I can tell you one of the worst from personal experience: publishing.

  15. J.D. says 12 November 2008 at 07:03

    Evelyn wrote: J.D. in regards to your aside..Don’t be envious

    Good point about the lifestyle inflation, Evelyn. If I had gone with some more lucrative career path, I might have ended up even further in debt.

    Also, perhaps my modest salary made it easier for me to be able to make the leap to blogging. If I had been earning $85,000 a year, would I have been as willing to take the risk? Absolutely not. And that would have been a shame — I would have missed out on living my dream.

  16. Caleb Nelson says 12 November 2008 at 07:03

    I like the first list the best, because I’m an engineer in the mechanical construction field. Personally, I think that recession proof jobs, will lean more toward recession proof industries, which I believe are structured through the internet. Google and Yahoo will always big hitters. The technological era has yet to peak, so these giants have yet to see their best days. Despite the economy, the number of internet users is still rising. And I can tell you from personal experience, that construction and engineering business has slowed way down.


  17. Cody says 12 November 2008 at 07:05

    I think Schiff’s predictions about what jobs will be resistant to the coming economic collapse he so fervently warns us about are proof that his ideas have no basis in history or reality and are instead based on simple, irrational Chicken Little-ism. I know a lot of guys right now that would like to have words with Schiff about his ridiculous assertion that construction is a good industry to be in during a recession. Further, Schiff’s assertion that demand for health care will decline sharply could only be based on the assumption that the collapse will be so massive, people won’t be able to afford to get sick, injured or to die. Again, ridiculous.

  18. Tony Dobson says 12 November 2008 at 07:05

    I enjoy working in IT but I’m not sure just how safe it is, for various reasons that I’m seeing first-hand. Let’s just say I’d keep an eye out for any services which can be out-sourced to a cheaper provider (whoever that is and wherever they might be based).

    Tradesmen are in a pretty good spot. It’s pretty tough to get a joiner/plumber/etc. from another country when they need to be on-site to do the job.

  19. nonskanse says 12 November 2008 at 07:17

    Hmmm… almost all of the lists involve computer geeks. So I should be fairly safe. 😉

    The last list includes them indirectly
    1. Education – database admins
    2. Energy – database, custom software, websites
    3. Health care – biomedical computing, modeling

  20. Kristen@TheFrugalGirl says 12 November 2008 at 07:17

    My husband has a nice combination…he works in IT security for a healthcare company. The only major threat for him is outsourcing.

  21. Aaron Kulbe says 12 November 2008 at 07:17

    Good morning J.D. –

    I am thankful. Very thankful.

    The company I work for designs hardware and software that cable companies use.

    During the worst times, it seems like people don’t want to let go of their entertainment… so cable companies thrive.

    They use our software to monitor their infrastructure, and I support said software.

    We had a “town meeting” recently where we went over financials.

    The numbers were GREAT. Business is GOOD.

    Again – I’m *very* thankful. It’s the hardest I’ve ever worked, but I have a great boss, and they treat us very well.

    All of this to say… I think jobs for cable/satellite providers, or for companies that support them… are solid.


    Aaron Kulbe

  22. Julie B says 12 November 2008 at 07:24

    It wasn’t included on any of the lists, but my job is super recession-proof – the military. They don’t cut pay and it is really hard to get fired (you pretty much have to do something extremely stupid or illegal). If we start losing our jobs without good reason, then this country is having major, major problems!! Also, health care is guaranteed, and paid for 100%!!

  23. Eric Hollins says 12 November 2008 at 07:32

    As an engineer (industrial engineer) in semiconductor manufacturing, I am steering as many people as possible away from semicon mfg. It is a dying industry in North America because the labor is just too cheap overseas. I’m looking for another IE job right now and there are none in my area on the job tracking websites. My skillset is more aligned with being a business analyst or project manager so I’m looking into those fields more.

    On the other hand, I have plans to go back to school to become a physical therapist. It is something that I think I would enjoy so much more than being an engineer. Also, there are many, many more jobs for a PT than an IE.

  24. Esme says 12 November 2008 at 07:38

    Healthcare? Not recession-proof? With the all the boomers reaching retirement age? I dont think Schiff is thinking straight. There will be a huge need for senior-focussed health care in the next 10-20 years.
    One recession-proof field (which I’m glad my husband is in) is public transit. When people lose their jobs and cant afford the car payment.. they take the bus. Transit does really well in poorer times and also when the price of fuel skyrockets.

  25. Cara says 12 November 2008 at 07:51

    Engineering?! That is laughable. When budgets are tight, R&D investment often goes down and engineers are the first to get axed. Many engineering jobs are being shipped overseas to reduce costs.

  26. Eric Hollins says 12 November 2008 at 07:56

    I agree. Engineering is not recession proof and health care is getting bigger and bigger. To be more specific, I think health care is the way to go as long as you don’t have “Dr.” in front of your name.

  27. Maren says 12 November 2008 at 08:07

    I’m a freelance singer, and I’ll tell you right now, the only people in the entertainment industry who are not quaking in their boots are at the very top, and most of them live in Hollywood.

    The majority of entertainers in this country are dependent on discretionary spending (people are thinking maybe they don’t want to spend the extra $ on Christmas carolers at their party this year or they’ll use their iPod instead of a DJ or live band for the wedding), and even within the industry, orchestras might decide not to program as much music needing chorus or larger ensembles.

    Non-profits (where most musicians get their work) depend on significant donations from wealthy people, a lot of whom are hurting very badly from this financial crisis.

    So unless you’re a movie star or a rock star, the entertainment industry is NOT a recession-proof industry.

  28. Desi says 12 November 2008 at 08:10

    Woot! Engineering! Best job ever! Great pay and I can work anywhere I want. Next up is the Mazdar project in Dubai!

  29. Susy says 12 November 2008 at 08:17

    I think the best recession proof job is diversifying yourself and being great at your current job. Mr Chiot’s and I are self-employed. We have a small productions company, we have always kept it small for this reason, we are very nimble as a small company. We have developed many different income streams and if one dries up we can beef up the other ones.

  30. Frugalicious says 12 November 2008 at 08:17

    Another Engineer here laughing at the idea an author listed it as “recession proof”. I have been laid off twice. The threat of outsourcing is always looming.

  31. Cat says 12 November 2008 at 08:28

    And the recession proof job that I think is notably missing is anything to do with funeral services – esp. companies that provide less expensive methods such as cremation.

  32. jtimberman says 12 November 2008 at 08:33

    From the second list, looks like I’m in good shape, top three:

    “# Computer systems analyst
    # Network systems and data communications analyst
    # Network and computer systems administrator”

    Of course, none of these positions are recession proof, at least as long as companies continue to gain tax breaks and save thousands by outsourcing / offshoring these positions. Fortunately for me I work for a company that has more loyalty to me than any I’ve worked for before – college friends :-).

  33. RT says 12 November 2008 at 08:38

    @Tony Dobson:

    The problem with this logic (my other half is a commercial plumber) is that most tradesmen are doing new construction. That is where the money is, not unplugging toilets and doing remodels. And new construction is already stalling in our current economy. I live in an area where most tradesmen have spent the last ten-fifteen years building new houses (residential work). Guess what? They no longer have jobs.

    The job security in construction comes from work that is based on government bonds (airport expansions, hospitals, schools, etc.) because the money is usually planned out several years in advance. But this type of work requires a different skill set and commercial certification (which pays much better, but is more difficult to earn – at least in California). Most plumbers go for the quick residential certification, and can not be hired for the big, infrastructure jobs anyways.

    That Schiff puts Construction as the second safest industry is laughable. Maybe down the road it will be true, but if we are headed for a depression as he claims, it will take YEARS to reach the point where all that new construction is needed (and able to be paid for). What are all the construction works supposed to do until then?

    We are lucky in that my hubby is one year into a three year project paid for by the State of Calif. We know we have two years of job security, and I suppose that is better than what most people can say.

  34. KC says 12 November 2008 at 08:53

    My husband is a physician (specialist) and although there is a certain recession proofness about it they certainly have seen a decline in patients they see. People are having a harder time paying for medical care – even those with insurance may not have the money for a co-pay.

    His practice now expects about 30% of their patients to cancel – they are almost double booking at this point. This effects not only the docs, but the nurses, front office staff, lab techs, etc. Fortunately they can double book because there are enough patients waiting to see a doctor – this is good for the docs and good for the patients cause they’ll be seen quicker. However it isn’t good for the patients who are canceling – if their medical problems get worse they can be much more expensive then it would have been to get regular care. And that is just looking at their problem from a financial perspective – avoiding care can have serious health consequences.

  35. Dr. Perspective says 12 November 2008 at 08:56

    Overall I expect Healthcare to remain a growth industry. Regardless of what kind of healthcare model develops over the next decade or two there will continue to be a need for healthcare providers. This will include physicians, nurses, technicians, assistants (PA/NA), administrators, etc. Given the current rate of retirement there is a significant lack of qualified workers in all those areas and likely many more to satisfy the need for an ever growing and ever aging populace.

  36. Phil says 12 November 2008 at 09:04

    Peter Schiff made me worried when he listed healthcare on the decline. But everyone else mentioned Nursing or Healthcare as a steady profession, which is good, because my wife is an R.N.

  37. Jonathan says 12 November 2008 at 09:27

    Based on the 4 lists, here is the unofficially compiled data:

    The Big Ones

    Business (accounting, marketing, support, etc NOT SALES) (11)

    IT (8)

    Healthcare (8)

    Engineering (3)

    Energy (environmental, etc) (3-4)

    Education (2) (but all jobs need training!)

    The Rest
    1. Construction, to rebuild the American infrastructure.
    2. Agriculture, as we wean ourselves from imported foodstuffs.
    3. Merchant marine, to transport goods to foreign markets.
    4. Commercial fishing, because demand for fish is increasing in the U.S. even as foreign supply is declining.
    5. Entertainment, another industry in which the U.S. should continue to dominate the world market.
    6. Automotive repair, small appliance repair, and the like. It’s going to become more costly to replace items, making repair a viable option.
    7. Tailoring and textiles, because imported clothes will become scarcer and more expensive
    8. Security and law enforcement

  38. Rachel says 12 November 2008 at 09:30

    “I wonder how much sooner I might have repaid my debt if I’d done something else for a career…like become a “technology executive”.”

    I wouldn’t beat yourself up about it JD – my husband has had pretty much that job for the last 10 years, in a fairly large market. And with all the companies he has worked for, or through his friends who do the same thing, or what he has ever seen anyone get paid – $115,000 is NOT EVEN REMOTELY CLOSE.

    I can say the same about my job as a video editor – any time I’ve ever looked up a salary average for my job the numbers are about 3 times what I have ever known anyone to actually make.

    Sometimes I think these places just poll a bunch of people in NY to get an average. The cost of living there is so high it doesn’t balance with the rest of the country. Think about it – if they get the average pay of the first 10 video editors they find, and 8 of them are from NY – that totally skews the numbers for the rest of the country.

    Im curious, is there anyone out there who actually has one of these jobs and makes that much?

  39. Kris says 12 November 2008 at 09:34

    In terms of job security, my husband and I feel fortunate to work in the industries we do: Pharmaceutical (one of his largest clients is Wal-Mart) and Insurance (people just don’t stop getting in accidents).

    In terms of creativity and passion, we might choose otherwise.

  40. Brandon @ Car Insurance Guidebook says 12 November 2008 at 09:43

    This is a thought-provoking post. So many of us live our lives surrounded by four panels of an office cubicle. J.D. has shown the way out of the box – it’s now up to us to find our way out. He’s even provided some options for those who want to be paid in the process – and keep our jobs.

    I’ve been in 3 different industries in 4 years. Granted, one of those moves was probably a mistake, but the others were simply trying to find a A) Passion and B) Something That Would Pay the Bills. Someone once said if you love your work, you’ll never work another day in your life. That’s my goal.

    As for my contribution to what will do well in the coming decades: online marketing. Newspapers are dying but ad revenue isn’t evaporating. It’s moving online. If you can learn how the new online economy in Search Engine marketing and other related places, then you’ll have room to expand in the coming years – and keep your job. 🙂

  41. Jane says 12 November 2008 at 10:01

    Like Elisabeth, I also had to laugh at the thought of a postsecondary teacher being recession proof. Perhaps in the sciences, but not in the humanities or social sciences. I’m on of those soon to be history Ph.D.s that probably will not find any job in my field. Perhaps this has nothing to do with a recession and more to do with the growing adjunct system, but regardless, no one should encourage people to pursue teaching at a university for economic reasons!

    I’m also not sure about the dental hygienist. I find when I’m struggling financially, one of the first things to go is dental care, since I can technically get by without it.

  42. FranticWoman says 12 November 2008 at 10:06

    I’d like Schiff to backup why healthcare jobs are not safe. Regardless of the economy, health care needs to be there…just like police and fire fighters.

    I read somewhere recently that if your job is closely tied to revenue than you have a smaller chance of being downsized. All staff are important, but with a revenue job you can actually chart how much you personally bring to the organization. I personally saved my employer 5 mil this year. I definitly *earned* my salary – and then some.

  43. Dana says 12 November 2008 at 10:10

    I would recommend just about anything in the healthcare industry *except* anything related to health insurance, including the insurance office in a physician’s practice. I don’t think we will go single-payer soon, but I think we’ll do something like it eventually, which will mean lots and lots of insurance-related jobs going down the tubes.

    But anything else is fair game, and we have serious shortages of doctors and nurses with a whole bunch of baby boomers about to retire. Retirement means Medicare, too, which means some degree of job security for medical providers.

    Pretty much any essential field that services higher-income people is probably not going to go away. Accounting, law, provision of high-end goods or luxury services. It’s the middle class and the poor that will be really pinched, not so much the wealthy–they might tighten their purse strings a little, but they won’t go all the way, and they won’t have to.

    I agree with the first job list here in terms of preparing for a potential oil crash in the next few decades. Or, y’know, just in terms of reviving our economy here in the States. In our quest to get the cheapest goods possible I think we forgot that purchasing goods made in the States means more jobs for Americans. Also, I think we were mistaken about how much money we were saving by scrimping on labor costs, anyway. I read someplace that the labor cost involved in making a t-shirt is only a few cents lower in developing countries than it is here in the States, even for union labor. With that in mind it really makes me wonder how much of outsourcing was just about avoiding environmental regulations and maximizing CEO paychecks.

    I like to make more money too, but I’d rather not do it by wrecking the environment and entire economies, yanno?

  44. Anne says 12 November 2008 at 10:14

    The brilliant thing about being self-employed is that, obviously, I set my own prices. As the economy has turned, I’ve been able to keep business by occasionally reducing my rates when the situation called for it, all while also retaining my higher-paying clientele who haven’t been affected by the recession. I’m also able to easily integrate different product lines that sell better to a lower-budget group. Tapping into more than just one market has helped me to keep the cash flowing.

  45. Dana says 12 November 2008 at 10:17

    Oh, I wouldn’t go into commercial fishing either, as some have suggested. We’ve got too many fleets out there already and maybe you haven’t heard, but the ocean fisheries are collapsing. It’s unfortunate because fish really is a healthy food, but if we take it all, there will be no more. Reproduction can only keep up so much when we’re literally scooping the critters out of the sea.

    Something else–I like YMOYL’s take on just looking at a job as work for pay, and not getting too hung up on whether it is supposed to be your life’s purpose right off. I’ve read this from other sources as well, and it makes sense to me. Even if you find work that is an absolute joy to do, you may find yourself in the uncomfortable position of having to sell yourself short to make that dollar. Like if your life’s ambition is to be an artist, you could find yourself sacrificing your artistic vision for the sake of your paycheck. This happens a LOT, and it is unfortunate.

    I know there are only so many hours in the day and a lot of people don’t have the time to pursue both a career and a life dream, but this is why it’s important to get a handle on your finances, because then you are able to make more choices about how your life will go. In this example, having no debt and living below your means lets you choose to cut back work hours so as to pursue that dream.

    But a paycheck is just a paycheck. As long as you’re not doing something that goes against your personal ethics, working in a field that has nothing to do with your life dream is not the end of the world.

  46. Miss M says 12 November 2008 at 10:17

    I’m a civil engineer working on large transportation projects, there have been ups and downs. It’s dependent on government funding, which is dependent on the economy….That said it’s looking like I’m set for life. The voters just passed a 30 year sales tax increase to pay for transportation projects, there is already a shortage of engineers here so it should translate to better pay.

    My other half works in Hollywood building sets and it’s been a pretty dismal year, don’t know why entertainment is on the list. A lot of production is being outsourced now, they can film more cheaply in 3rd world countries and pay the help peanuts.

  47. E says 12 November 2008 at 10:21

    I like the last list, since I am in accounting. From where I sit it looks pretty safe: My employer trades steel, which is always needed by someone, and in any case, all businesses and many individuals need someone to do their finances. I don’t make the salary range above but I work for a small private company and I don’t have my degree yet. 🙂

  48. Andrew says 12 November 2008 at 10:30

    I have seen lists like these more often online as the country enters an economic downturn.

    So what should I do? Change my career into one of these recession proof jobs?
    I have briefly considered studying for a healthcare career and leaving the IT field I am currently employed in. However, the quoted annual salary figures look great, but what about lost earnings from my current job if I were to become a student full time and the need to pay back all those student loans for a position that may no longer be in great demand in 4 years time? Based on my present income 4 years of lost income and the expenses of college could easily pass $200,000. If after college I were to get a job with income 30,000 more than I make currently, it would take me 4 years in college plus another 7 years (200,000/30,000) for the change in careers to pay off. 11 years in all!

    No can do. There is a lot more to consider before considering a career change. As J.D mentions, the best job is the one you currently have.

  49. Neil says 12 November 2008 at 10:35

    The contradiction between the so-called experts is interesting. While there are some common elements I think the best advice is to continue to make yourself relevant and indespenseable in your work place.

  50. Jay says 12 November 2008 at 10:42

    The only truly ‘recession proof’ job I know is “Bankruptcy Trustee.” Those guys are making a killing right now. Of course they’ve had a few tough years in the recent past…

    But I have to say it says odd, and sad, things about us that “entertainment” is considered a recession proof job. I’ve been listening to many analysists say that some ‘luxury’ items (like fancy coffee) are going to be one of the last things that people give up.

    I have to say they were the first to go for me. Movies out, fancy coffee, non-business related eating out, non-business related travel, theater tickets etc. have all been removed or greatly reduced in my personal “recession proofing.”

    While I don’t think I will be hit badly (everyone needs an accountant, especially when things start going bad!), I’m not spending money I don’t have to spend any more.

  51. Liz says 12 November 2008 at 11:00

    I really think that the definition of a recession proof job / skill is that if one is laid off, how long will it take to find a similar position at the same level of pay. I know if something happens to my position, I could find another job within one month for equal or more pay. That is a conforting thought in today’s times.

  52. RenaissanceTrophyWife says 12 November 2008 at 12:08

    @ Eric Hollis:

    “To be more specific, I think health care is the way to go as long as you don’t have “Dr.” in front of your name.”

    LOL– I agree. Physicians have their hands tied today, as the HMOs seem to believe they’re more qualified to make patient care decisions. The current system also focuses on milling patients through, rather than healing them. It’s hard for patients and physicians alike.

    As a non-financial consideration, the NYT recently discussed the fact that 11% of med students have suicidal ideation. That’s a big risk, even for a recession-proof job.

  53. quinsy says 12 November 2008 at 12:11

    I am a physician and I have hardly ever heard of a physician, nurse, PA, etc. being fired except for gross incompetence, substance abuse, etc. These jobs are absolutely recession proof. They are not without their own financial issues such as educational debt or the possibility of making less money due to the economy or new legislation, but you are not going to get laid off from a healthcare job. Also would just agree with the other viewpoints that with a huge aging generation, there is going to be more need for healthcare than ever, not less.

    The initial list is a bizarre idea of the future where we all go back to the professions of 100 years ago. Are we going to have bakers, tailors, hatmakers shops? That’s a quaint idea but I really doubt it. The jobs of the future are going to be innovative, not a step back in time.

  54. Jess says 12 November 2008 at 12:22

    I agree with Maren: the idea that jobs in entertainment are recession-proof is just wrong. When people are strapped for cash they’re much less likely to splurge on entertainment. I work in the arts — opera, symphony, ballet — and we’ve already noticed a drastic decline in subscribers and in ticket buyers who are nervous about money. Entertainment is often the first thing to go — not the last!

  55. nonsense says 12 November 2008 at 12:23

    The reasoning in that first list is ludicrous. I hope there’s more backing it up, but here are some counter-arguments (agreed, some are just as crap as the originals)

    engineering: you can design a widget anywhere in the world, and India and China are churning out tens of thousands to do just that.

    finance: people need money, so finance will always be a staple.

    merchant marine: this industry has been in huge decline for many years, and will continue to be in decline.

    energy: these will probably be developed elsewhere, because America can’t get its act straight.

    dental hygienist: dental procedures are expensive, and practices will suffer when their customers lose insurance or can’t pay out of pocket — the support staff will go before the owner does.

    The list of poorly-reasoned arguments goes on…

  56. Adam says 12 November 2008 at 12:47

    Unfortunately in this day and age I think the only recession proof job is to work for the federal government. Everywhere else you are just one bad quarter from being laid off.

  57. Chi-town Saver says 12 November 2008 at 13:04

    I think to say “engineering” is recession proof is too broad. However, I am a civil engineer who work on water resources projects. Do you really think the government will cut back so much that they wont provide people water? I doubt it, my job is pretty recession proof and so are most jobs in infrastructure, because everything is built on it. Now, other fields of engineering (electrical/mechanical/etc.) may not be quite as safe.

    Also, construction can be safe, but it depends on what kind of construction you are talking about. Someone mentioned this above, but there is a big difference between residential construction (that has been pretty well destroyed by the housing bubble) and capital improvements construction that the government pays for.

  58. Valeria | TimelessLessons says 12 November 2008 at 13:10

    Have to agree with Ryan, being a freelance writer certainly is a recession-proof job because we live in the information age and people are always after information. So I kinda feel comfortable.

  59. Emily says 12 November 2008 at 13:11

    Commercial fishing? Are they *crazy*? Fishing stocks around the world are being depleted at such a rate that commercial fishing may be a thing of the past in just a few decades. Ask the generations of fishermen on the east coast if they think their jobs are secure.

  60. rubin pham says 12 November 2008 at 13:17

    i totally agree with this article. remember no one can tell the future.

  61. Schizohedron says 12 November 2008 at 13:17

    Writing alarmist screeds like Schiff’s is a recession-proof industry!

    Seriously, there’s a guy in my poker game who sometimes whines about the difficulty of his nursing courses. Time and time again, I tell him, “Stick with nursing. YOU WILL HAVE A JOB FOR LIFE.”

  62. Ed in Austin says 12 November 2008 at 14:35

    As a sophomore in college working toward a Civil Engineering degree, I’m thinking that people are always going to be having to build/repair infrastructure.

    I’m just hoping that companies’ll be hiring whenever I get out in two years. Or later if I do grad school.

  63. DJ says 12 November 2008 at 14:38

    Can any industry or job truly be safe from a rescission.

  64. Rishi says 12 November 2008 at 15:30

    Schiff says healthcare is not recession proof. What, people stop getting sick when the economy is in trouble? Medicine can never be a declining profession, unless someone finds a panacea for all sicknesses of the human race. Sure, maybe they’ll cut government funding for research, but practicing physicians and surgeons are always in demand. Nurses, too, for that matter.

    “Construction, to rebuild the American infrastructure.” Recession proof? Are you kidding? Construction will be one of the first to go – our infrastructure isn’t exactly falling apart…

    He’s dead on in that retail and tourism will decline – first things that a consumer will chop off the list.

    “Computers and high technology, one field in which the U.S. continues to lead.” Lead…they do, but the rest of the world is catching up! IT and software development can be easily outsourced to China and India, and our scientists and developers now have to compete on a global scale.

    Entertainment? If I am living paycheck-to-paycheck, going to the movies is not too high on my list…maybe that’s just me, but recession-proof?

    Just my $0.02…

  65. Morgante Pell says 12 November 2008 at 15:50

    I agree with these lists, especially about technology. In the scheme of things, high tech (especially software) is one of the few industries where the US is the primary source of innovation. Additionally, as companies aggressively try trim costs, they often turn to IT solutions to cut down on overhead and maximize efficiency.

    @caleb: Don’t be so sure about Yahoo. It’s going down… they should have taken Microsoft’s offer when they had the chance. (Ex:

    Expect a lot of innovation as companies look for new competitive edges.

  66. Mike says 12 November 2008 at 16:01

    I’m a Firefighter/EMT, let’s be honest, Public Safety is the one field that is recession proof above all others. As long as there are stupid people, drunks, gangs, and “Global Warming” induced natural disasters (Fires, floods, Hurricanes, Earthquakes, large Global Warming Monsters who rise up out of the ground and oceans to devour our cities,) I’m pretty comfortable with my employment.

  67. Greg C says 12 November 2008 at 16:17

    Thanks for sharing your salary, J.D. I am not sure if you had before, but I had assumed it was around that amount.

    I tend to think your salary did have something to do both with your ability to pay down debt and become a successful blogger.

    While there are people making twice your salary, there are also many frugal bloggers earning half as much. Ii find it much harder to relate to either.

    For example, there are many PF bloggers and members of various PF forums that assume that every half-educated adult earns 6 figures ( and usually has a spouse earning 6 figures as well). I always wonder where these people are because in my experience growing up and as a young adult I always saw a 6 figure combined HOUSEHOLD income as doing very well. And many of my college educated ( and very bright) relatives never came close to making that with 20+ years of experience.

    When someone has over $10,000 a month in disposable income, it’s rather easy for them to give tips on saving money like ” spend less than $100 on lunch this week” or “have less than $50 wine with your dinner” and so on. I think most people find a Middle Class perspective more relatable.

    On the other hand, unfortunately, there are also a lot of frugal bloggers out there that earn less than many teenagers and seem destined to live out their lives never making money, getting by only from extreme frugality tactics.

    I think it’s good to see that people with Middle Class incomes ( attainable by most people) are able to pay down debt and still live comfortably, own a home, have hobbies and leisure activities, and all that good stuff.

  68. Delmar Jackson says 12 November 2008 at 16:36

    I have to doudt Schiffs asertion about the need for Merchant Marines, as I was in the Merchant Marines during the recession of Jimmy Carter. We had Third Mates sailing as Able Bodied seaman as shipping was very poor. At the end of WW2 we had the largest fleet in the world, but the Merchant Fleet was the first industry to be quietly outsouced to foreign competition, No one gave a darn as they never expected it to happen to them. we have been racing to the bottom for years.
    A slight hope is many sailors are retiring so the few ships left will need replacement,

  69. Random says 12 November 2008 at 17:14

    –I wonder how much sooner I might have repaid my debt if I’d done something else for a career…like become a “technology executive”.

    Probably about the same amount of time. If you were earning more in the “bad old days” you probably would have been in even more debt than you were, so it would have taken just as long!

  70. Miss M says 12 November 2008 at 17:16

    @Ed in Austin – come to Los Angeles, we’ve got lots of work. Also, don’t know your specialty but other than structural you don’t need a grad degree. Heck half the people I work with can’t pass their EIT and are making over a $100k!

    @Rishi – yes your infrastructure is crumbling you just don’t know it. LA is a very new city yet most of it’s infrastructure is past its usable life, older cities are even worse. There’s been no maintenance cause there is no money.

  71. Frugal Bachelor says 12 November 2008 at 18:07

    Anybody who thinks their job is “recession proof” doesn’t have a good enough imagination. The phrase reminds me of the dot-com bonus babies who proclaimed in 1999 that they would never be laid off because the New Economy solved every economic inefficiency.

    Probably the main threat to an individual’s employment, though, is not economic malaise, but change – whether it be social, technological, political, or environmental. We live in an intensely competitive and constantly changing world, and people will always go wherever the money is. Change is constant, ruthless, often dramatic, and usually unexpected. Entire industries, cities, and even nations rise and fall with relative ease, and nobody is sitting still. Even something seemingly untouchable such as a physician could be totally transformed by medical breakthroughs which render modern medicine the equivalent of shamanism, or any more mundane things which are easier to imagine. I also don’t see self-employment as generally safer; how many owner-operated horse & buggy shops survived the automobile revolution?

    Nobody ever got ahead economically by sitting smug about their job.

    Also, I haven’t seen much about Peter Schiff outside of this blog, but the more he is quoted here, the further I’m convinced that he is a nut job.

  72. Funny about Money says 12 November 2008 at 19:02

    Interesting post and series of responses. This very afternoon, I sat down with my fave Credit Union advisor to discuss a strategy for how the money & credit line I have with the CU will be handled if & when I’m laid off. He let it slip that he himself was nervous about his job stability. In the course of conversation, we realized that EVERYONE WE KNOW BETWEEN THE TWO OF US is worried about their jobs.

    Well, we can’t all be laid off (we hope). But the truth is, your conclusion that the best job you have is the one you have is probably as good as any conclusion can get. If you have more than one job, well than, you have two best-of-all-possible jobs. Seriously: that’s because if you have two or three income streams, at least you will have something to fall back on when you lose one of them.

    Merchant Marine: my father spent his life in the Merchant Marine — he was licensed for any tonnage, any ocean (your MM correspondents will understand the significance of that). The U.S. Merchant Marine has gone to Hell on a skateboard since his heyday. If I had been a boy, I would have gone to sea like my Daddy…and friends, am I ever glad I was born a girl!

    The best we can do, under the current circumstances, is be thankful for what we have. And pray for the best.

  73. Martin says 12 November 2008 at 19:04

    35,000 to 45,000 per year for working as a nurse? I’m a RN and earn just over 100K/yr working 40 hours per week in the USA.

  74. Maureen says 12 November 2008 at 21:32

    One field that hasn’t been discussed much: Law. When times are good, people want to incorporate businesses. When times are bad, people want to file bankruptcy.

  75. Lynb says 12 November 2008 at 21:42

    I hate to admit it’s been this long ago – but 25 years ago I chose to go into accounting simply because it was recession proof and I was a single mom. It has served me well. I can and have, worked in a variety of industries which keeps it interesting. And I never worry about a recession. Am I passionate about it? Absolutely not. Apparently though I’m good at it.

    But where and when did we get the idea that we must be passionate about what we do for dollars? My job finances my life – but it is NOT my life!

  76. Becky says 12 November 2008 at 21:49

    Let me say, JD that if you had had a better job, with more money, you may not be able to write such an interesting blog. Having had “less money” floating around actually makes you more “in touch” with the Walmart workers and those working as waiters or basic laborers. It means that paying off your debt took longer, and much more in line with the “little guys” out there.

    What is going to make you relate to even more people is if you all decide to have children. Until you have them, you have no idea….

    It is somewhat harder to “relate” to someone who actually has it “tight” when your definition of “tight” is “buy a used car” instead of new or “carry your own lunch” instead of eating out every day.

    The very fact that you worked at a lower paying job (though, depending on what part of the country you live in, 42K isn’t really lower, is it–considering you have no children?) gives your “save $100 here” advice much more clout.

    It means you know that sometimes putting that $100 away meant sacrifice, no matter how small (skipping the comic books, for example) and was not just a matter of throwing it around in various bank accounts or playing around with high finance.

    I, too, agree with the people who sighed that entertainment is still on the list of recession proof industries.

    As far as I’m concerned most of what Hollywood does could completely close up and the rest of the world would do just fine without it. Many of the actors and actresses are seriously overpaid and over-reported. Our lives would be better off without financing theirs. We’d be better off investing that “overpayment” into people who do things that really matter like doctors and nurses.

  77. spoton says 12 November 2008 at 22:05

    Technology not recession proof? Entertainment not recession proof? Bull! THQ one of the large video game companies closed FIVE of it’s studio’s last week! That’s IT, programmers, designers, producers, all manner of technology job losses. They also cut jobs in other studio’s by 30%. Pretty much everyone we know is looking for jobs right now.
    I agree with everyone that medical will be recession proof.

  78. Studenomist says 12 November 2008 at 23:45

    My advice will probably not be accepted, but here I go anyways. Diversify your income (not by startin a pf blog or get rich quick scheme, but by doing something you have never done before). This means do not be afraid to get your hands dirty. Personally I have completed one College progam in the field of Business, and now I am working on my Bachelors of Commerce Degree from another University. With this being said I have no problem working a polar opposite job from my current day job. Whether it be construction or any other job where you will get your hands dirty. The key is to never look down on a source of income because the guy fixing your toilet may earn more money than you.

  79. Jack says 13 November 2008 at 01:25

    I see a lot of people posting “Ha ha college educator” followed by something to the effect of “I’m still a student” or “I don’t have a job yet”. The ability to procure a job and the sustainability of a job through lean times are two different things. I’m a young professor, untenured, but tenure track. I don’t see any problem in the future. People will go to college. That, and the university would be giving up an investment in startup grants and class training to lay off a new professor. If they hire someone new, they must invest those same funds, and if they don’t, the dept. may dry up through attrition. I also think that adjuncts and junior faculty are not really what the list-makers had in mind.

  80. Lily says 13 November 2008 at 01:33

    The Italian government is now going to cut funds in the whole education field, from elementary to university, which is causing much turmoil. But private schools, which are already well endowed, will get more money.
    Down with culture and progress.

  81. slowfit says 13 November 2008 at 02:43

    Health care, for the most part, will be recession proof. Especially since Obama will probably end the no-pay segment (enlarging the government pay segment). Elective procedures will drop off, but the worse off people get the sicker they will become. Health care professionals, especially physicians, will continue to see wages decline in real terms, but the work will be there. Applications to medical school will surge, as students perceive fewer opportunities in the other traditional middle class professions.

  82. Justin Roepel says 13 November 2008 at 02:44

    I had a bit to say and decided to just put it in a blog post instead of putting in a big response here. 🙂

  83. Sam says 13 November 2008 at 04:49

    I’m not sure that Schiff thought his plan out before he made his book. Health care, particularly rehabilitation, is the best field to be. People are living longer, and as a result they are suffering more strokes, cancer diagnoses, etc. Especially in the next couple of decades with the baby boomers on the decline, we should see a huge surge in the need for rehabilitation health care services. Luckily, I’m in my last year of grad school to be a Speech-Language Pathologist, so I’m all set. 🙂

  84. Josiah says 13 November 2008 at 04:51

    Schiff is the guy you should listen to. He is not delusional like most of the commentators.

  85. Tim says 13 November 2008 at 06:35

    Everyone forgets the US Govt…uncle sugar…is a great recession proof job.

  86. Brendt says 13 November 2008 at 09:43

    The idea of IT jobs being anything close to safe is fall-off-your-chair laughable. The level of jobs that I/T CEOs are shipping overseas keeps rising.

    By 2050, there will be more elephant farmers than IT workers in the United States.

  87. Ariston Collander says 13 November 2008 at 09:59

    How about Real Estate Appraiser? Whether the housing market is on the origination or foreclosure end, the houses still need to be appraised.

    Also, wedding photographers. Granted the income might be less, but recession or not, people still get married and want records of that event.

  88. Lisa Angelettie says 13 November 2008 at 10:15

    Having experience in a few industries between me and my husband, I must say that I think the strategy for most (especially women) should be:

    1. Hold on to the job that you have for as long as you can. Especially if it has great benefits.

    2. While you are working in that job, start slowly building a second stream of income with your own business. I prefer internet related businesses. Statistics show that internet use is up — especially due to the price of gas over the last year.

    Ownership is the key to financial freedom.

  89. Deborah Cooper says 13 November 2008 at 13:18

    One recession-proof job that I didn’t see mentioned was property management. While real estate professionals are in a downward spiral with the current market, property management services are doing quite well. People that cannot get financing to buy a home obviously have to live somewhere, and more often than not opt to rent a home or apartment.

    I love your column and read it everyday!

  90. Martacus says 13 November 2008 at 14:44

    How about sanitation? Everybody makes a mess, and everybody needs someone to clean up after them. Companies may downsize their janitorial staffs to save a few dollars, but there always has to be somebody to collect the trash and recycling. It’s not glamorous, and it may not be the best paying, but it’s always needed.

  91. Lily says 13 November 2008 at 14:55

    Look, it’s clear that no job is recession-proof. Except… well, you know.

  92. Aura says 13 November 2008 at 15:01

    Maureen: “One field that hasn’t been discussed much: Law. When times are good, people want to incorporate businesses. When times are bad, people want to file bankruptcy.”

    Just wanted to note that several large law firms have recently closed down or laid off big numbers of attorneys. I agree that there’s always a need for attorneys, but I wouldn’t say that being an attorney is recession-proof. Most attorneys specialize in one or two areas, so there’s a good chance of being laid off if their area of specialization slows.

  93. Jak says 13 November 2008 at 16:38

    Prison guard is pretty recession proof and in Canada well-paying. Now if it ever gets privatized, I’m sure the pay would drop in half but still, prison populations keep growing, and in Canada cons enjoy their lifestyle in jail,usually better than living in low-income poverty. You’ll have job security but you might have to give up your marriage, get a drinking habit and worry about your mental and physical well-being.

  94. Terry Beck says 13 November 2008 at 18:28

    What many of these pundits fail to mention, is that any job that is portable (i.e. can be done from a desk and a computer), can be done by someone overseas . . . cheaper. Including Hi-Tech, and accounting. Anything that does not require your actual physical presence can be shipped overseas. Believe me, I was in one of those safe hi-tech computer professions, until they had me training my replacements in India and China.

  95. Mike says 13 November 2008 at 20:59

    I don’t get it.. u only make $42k/year and u can afford to raise a family in Portland? My wife and I are in Boston which I thought had a comparable COL. We’re 3 yrs out of college, earn $125k combined (we went into engineering and accounting), we have a daughter, own a small ranch with no garage, live frugally, and still have a hard time making ends meet!

  96. V says 14 November 2008 at 21:21

    System Engineer/Administrator. Somewhat recession proof. Tough to be laid off because India can’t physically touch a failed server or failed network (which is how they connect). Firms can contract out the physical labor, though, but the physical work still has to been done locally which means you go from working for the firm to working for the contracting company. However, if Data Centers move overseas, that’s a whole new ball game.
    For now, it’s relatively safe because the writing is long on the wall in terms of other IT departments getting laid off or outsourced first. As long as you stay current on new technology, keep your resume updated, network, pay attention to how the business is doing, and have an escape plan, you’re usually safe. Besides, most large firms have a 3% yearly raise cap so it’s best to move on every 3-5 years to avoid salary stagnation. If you can’t keep up with the technology change, avoid this field. Not for the faint of heart. Homework required.

  97. B says 14 November 2008 at 22:53

    Echoing the “military” and “federal government” themes:

    I am a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, better known as a diplomat. Almost 100% job security; the only real ways to lose your job are to commit major consulate malfeasance (i.e. sell visas) or to fail to prove competence in a foreign language within your first five years or employment. Beyond that, you’ve basically got a guaranteed job for life and a strong union (American Foreign Service Association) to back you up. The world will always needs diplomats, and as the core group of us are designated as “Generalist,” we just get shuttled between consular, political, economic, management, and public diplomacy work as needs demand. And if we thought we had job security before… no way any President in the the next twenty years is going to be able to call for a “reduction in force” of the diplomatic corp without coming across in a very poor light. Did I mentioned regular cost-of-living increases, free housing and transportation, health insurance with annually DECREASING premiums, and free private school education for kids?

  98. mwarden says 16 November 2008 at 13:00

    Cody @17: You said “Further, Schiff’s assertion that demand for health care will decline sharply could only be based on the assumption that the collapse will be so massive, people won’t be able to afford to get sick, injured or to die.”

    No, I think it is based on the fact that spending on Medicaid and Medicare cannot be maintained, and talk about increased government-sponsored health care is a farce. Please consider viewing IOUSA:

  99. mwarden says 16 November 2008 at 13:08

    To all of you knocking Schiff and thinking he is a nutjob… everyone else thought he was a nutjob too when he time and time again predicted the housing crisis. When will we stop assuming that things can’t change?!

  100. Plinkey says 17 November 2008 at 21:38

    I agree that engineering is recession proof, but you need to be in the right kind of engineering.

    Civil Engineering and the people that support it will be fine, this country is going to put money into the infrastructure. It guarantees jobs at home paid for by the government and private companies that build. Another engineering field that will continue to thrive is the defense industry.

    If there is a cutback in the defense industry it won’t be the engineers that go. They are the people that make the money for companies and it can’t be outsourced. The people that will lose out in the defense industry, if it goes south, are the auxiliary “support” positions. It’s become somewhat bloated over the last 8 years.

    I’m saying this as an EE with a top secret clearance though, so I may be a little biased, but defense companies put a lot of money into getting clearances and such (about 2x the salary at hiring). So they have an incentive to keep these people around.

  101. sfordinarygirl says 19 November 2008 at 11:40

    Your last point is spot-on – re the job you already have.

    A salesman for a US-based high-end clothing company/tailor gave me some wise advice – we should always be in “hunter-gatherer” mode.

    If people just do their jobs day in/day out without showing the slightest interest in advancing, learning about what’s new, meeting people to stay on top of the latest trends, they are the ones who’ll get hacked off first. But the people who have a strong network, have advanced skills and show a genuine interest in their work those are the ones that survive ups and downs.

  102. John says 26 November 2008 at 14:24

    What about tax consultant? There will ALWAYS be taxes to pay and so few people know how to do them without help. H&R Block, Liberty Tax, etc… Those guys should be able to whether any financial crisis.

  103. jeflin says 29 November 2008 at 19:21

    I think teachers are always recession proof. The number of students in good or bad years should not decrease so drastically that teachers have to be streamlined in a school.

  104. Tom Ernst says 26 December 2008 at 05:11

    The only rcession jobs are police officers, firefighers and priest.

  105. jimmy jam says 15 January 2009 at 20:05

    I’m a power lineman in Western Canada.

    It’s a small trade (number of tradesmen) that flies under the radar. It’s very physical demanding work and you must be alert, but it pays well. Jouneymen make between $80-$150k a year.

    As far as being recession-proof? As long as people need electricity, power linemen will be around.

  106. RUSTY says 08 February 2009 at 17:18


  107. Kira says 21 February 2009 at 17:09

    There are no recession proof jobs. Cops around here were getting cut, Come on we need our cops. what is the world coming too?
    My father hast lost his job (12/23/08) never will forget that date, everyday he is looking for a job. What are we to do…Im scared.
    Here is an idea, how about we cut the pay of singers, actors, producers, gov’t people who just sit on their butts, any sport. THey are all over paid for what?? nothing, if i was famous i would help out someone like me an my family, but I guess i was brought up different.

    Lord help everyone in this time of need.

  108. Rocky says 19 March 2009 at 14:39

    Faith is recession proof!

  109. E says 10 April 2009 at 13:35

    You are so darn right about faith! Faith is recession-proof! So are optimism, positive thinking and unconditional effort to do our best at whatever we do! That’s what’s going to take us out of this economic meltdown and recession-proof our jobs and relationships for that matter.

  110. Chandra Wijaya says 15 April 2009 at 23:21

    What is the best proof recession jobs? That would be your competence and your skill that above others people. That is what i called best recession proof jobs 😉

  111. Bruno says 20 April 2009 at 10:07

    I have a degree in computer engineering and CAN NOT land a job. Anywhere, for any salary. I have sent hundreds of applications in the last 6 months. To no avail. I have been told, if you don’t have 5+ years experience, good luck.

    DO NOT believe that getting a degree equals a job, it only means STUDENT LOANS to repay. There are MORE engineering graduates than jobs. Retired workers are coming out of retirement, jobs are being transferred overseas by the thousands. You are NOT guaranteed a job.

    No field is recession proof or even recession resistant. We are all ONLY statistics.

  112. steph says 09 June 2009 at 18:14

    My husband works for a golf course as grounds maitenence…he makes $17,000 a year! He is a high school drop-out. I am a stay-at-home-mom. I am a high school graduate with a certificate in Auto Technology for Service Advisory. How do you all think we the already “poverty stricken, undereducated” people feel?

  113. Michael says 30 July 2009 at 08:57

    i really liked this debate. i’m 20 years old, graduated highschool and i’m stuck deciding between what makes me happy and feel good, or the money. when i think about money, ofcourse i want to keep my head above water just like everyone else. i don’t need to be extremely wealthy, but i don’t want to hate the job, come home and not feel good about myself because i don’t enjoy my job. i don’t think anyone can say they love their job 100%. but it would be nice to find a job that pays good, with benefits and security and be able to enjoy it for the most part and come home every night.

  114. Wenona Growden says 07 March 2013 at 01:48

    For those people considering what marketing jobs or freelance work is available at the moment, I recommend you have a look here . Apply for the jobs, there are some cracking positions there. Also sign up for the freelancers section

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