The rate of job openings and new hires has steadily decreased since 2007, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And unemployment rates are holding fast at 10 percent, which also doesn’t bode well. According to the December employment report, 6.1 million people face long-term unemployment.
Even though experts are hollering about the impending end of the recession, it would be wise to keep these industries in mind for the next time the economy goes down the drain. These fields aren’t going to let a simple economic crisis knock them down. They know who’s really in charge — they are.
Luckily, if you’re in one of these five recession-proof industries, you’ve got nothing to worry about. And if you’re not, it’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon.
Check out these five hardcore industries that you want to be a part of when the next recession strikes:
1. Health Care
Swine flu anyone? Germs don’t care about the economy. You don’t stop getting sick just because you’re out of a job – in fact, the stress may make you feel even worse. So it’s no wonder fields like pharmaceuticals and biotechnologies are particularly resilient.
We’re an older population with more health problems (see: obesity) than we were during the last recession. According to the December employment report by the BLS, health care jobs continued to rise, adding 22,000 jobs last month alone. Specific jobs such as physicians (9,000 new jobs) and home health care services also (8,000) did very well. According to the BLS, the health care industry has added 631,000 jobs since the beginning of the recession. Employment has increased in ambulatory care, nursing, and residential care facilities, according to the BLS.
Exception: Health-care providers who offer proper health care to individuals were hard hit this recession, not to mention the fact that an estimated 50 million Americans are without health insurance. Hospitals and other medical institutions get left with the debt if health bills go unpaid.
2. Federal Government
The government always needs help, and that doesn’t change in a down economy. A job with the federal government is seen as a reliable paycheck, no matter what state the nation as a whole may be in. In fact, many leave these jobs only for retirement. Government jobs are rarely cut back, and this is especially true in a recession where expanding these positions can stimulate the economy.
Rather than laying off workers, companies go into a hiring freeze. Plus, as baby boomers retire, more positions open up, meaning more room for new talent.
3. Skilled Services
Hair stylists, plumbers, electricians – they offer services that are always in demand, all the time. Seriously.
It just makes sense: These industries offer products and skills that people will always want. Demand stays consistent because the services are not only affordable, but considered necessary to the success of a business, or running a household. Services that trend to a down market will do exceptionally well. It is the type of industry to remain steady no matter what the economic climate may be. For example, nail salons saw a 9 percent growth in 2007, according to the BLS.
Quick Tip: Skilled labor also makes a great secondary career if your first job goes down the drain.
4. Food Manufacturing
A bad economy doesn’t mean we cut back on food — especially comfort food. The food manufacturing industry includes meat preparation, dairy products, farming, bakeries, confectionary products, food delivery, etc. Because demand for food is relatively stable no matter what state the economy is in, food manufacturing remains secure, though it can be impacted by short term conditions including animal diseases, weather conditions, and trade agreements, according to the BLS.
In addition, it can be easy to get a job as a food production worker (did you know they make up 54 percent of all jobs?), as you need little formal education or training.
States like Michigan, where the recession has left deep marks, managed to see a 12 percent growth in the agricultural food industry. Food manufacturing employment grew 2.6 percent in September for Oregon as well, when compared with September 2008.
People are also indulging in inexpensive sugary treats, which is why confectionary companies like Hershey’s are doing well. It makes sense; candy and chocolate are relatively cheap, but oh-so-yummy and comforting. Breakfast foods, like eggs and cereal that you can actually eat at any time of day, saw a rise in popularity — General Mills Inc. saw their second-quarter profit jump 50 percent in 2009 alone.
You may have heard of the spectacular growth by the nation’s biggest fast-food chain: McDonald’s. The Golden Arches definitely wins best-in-show for all-around growth, both in the U.S. and abroad, with their successful launch of McCafe coffee and new store openings (almost 600 in 2008!). Even though it’s well accepted that people eat out less and at home more in a recession, it worked in McDonald’s favor: when people do eat out, they eat cheap. I’m Lovin’ It.
5. Lights, Camera, Action!
History tells us Hollywood and recessions are like a PB&J sandwich — the perfect combination. The Arab oil embargo of the 1970s and other past economic woes have always come out in favor of Hollywood, and it seems this time around is no exception (hello, Avatar!).
What is surprising are the record sales. More people stayed at home this recession, choosing an inexpensive night in with a movie, versus splashing out more by going out on the town. That adds up to box office gold.
Even though ticket prices have increased, overall U.S. box office ticket revenue hit a record high at $4.2 billion this summer. This is significant since no single blockbuster movie did as well as 2008’s The Dark Knight. International box office sales broke records too, up 7 percent from 2007 at $5.8 billion.
Online movie rentals aren’t doing too bad either: Redbox, the company behind automated $1 DVD rental kiosks in grocery stores, plans to expand in over 2,000 Kroger stores next year, as well as Walgreens, 7-Eleven, and other retailers. However, the real superstar is Netflix. The recession was a blessing from the heavens for this Internet movie mogul; over 10 million paid subscribers – and counting – and a market value of nearly $3 billion. (That’s doubled since 2008!)
It doesn’t stop there. Netflix earned $432 million in third quarter revenue, a 4 percent increase from the previous quarter. Analysts expect the online giant will meet its goal of adding 300,000 to 500,000 new customers in the three months ending September … which would mean about 2.5 million more customers than the same period in 2008. Yowza! That would be a record growth in the company’s 10-year history.
On the flipside, competitor Blockbuster Inc. plans to close over 900 stores by the end of 2010 and denies rumors of bankruptcy.