The top 50 recession proof jobs today.
1) Residential trade contractors
Residential trade contractors include everyone from carpenters to renovators to carpet installers. While it is not immediately clear why these professions are resistant to recessions (one might think people would spend less on home repairs in times of economic distress), the data show that this sector grew 4%, 4%, and 7% during the 1990, 2001, and 2007 recessions, respectively.
2) Turbine & Turbine Generators
One defining trait of recession-proof industries is that they are often not dependent on consumer demand. That is, the industry in question produces something that is essential to business operations or things that have little or no bearing on consumer spending. Turbines and turbine generators are an excellent example of this, boasting 6%, 12%, and 2% growth during 1990, 2001, and 2007. The reason seems to be that turbines and engines need to keep working regardless of how the overall economy is doing.
3) Medicinal & biological products
Boasting 7%, 2%, and 5% growth, the medicinal and biological products industry thrives for one simple reason: people always get sick, even during recessions. The broader state of the economy has little or no bearing on how often people get sick or require treatments, which likely explains why it has continued to grow through the three most recent recessions we’ve experienced.
4) Medical equipment
For similar reasons, the medical equipment industry has thrived to the tune of 7%, 4%, and 6% growth during the most recent recessions. The market for defibrillators, diabetes testing supplies, and other medical equipment is more or less immune to economic dips and dives for the same reason any medical-related industry is immune: sickness still occurs regardless of economic vitality.
5) Pet and pet supply stores
Pet and pet supply stores are more or less impervious to economic downturns, showing 3%, 3%, and 8% growth during the most recent recessions. Much as our pets may love us (and dogs may be described as “man’s best friend”), they are not magnanimous enough to eat less or use less kitty litter because their owners’ wallets are feeling a pinch. For this reason, stores catering to pets still manage to do well in times of economic despair.
6) School bus transportation
Thanks to our compulsory public education which forces all children to attend schools until at least age 16, the demand for school bus transportation suffers little from economic downturns. In fact, school and employee bus transportation experienced 5%, 4%, and 4% growth during the 1990, 2001, and 2007 recessions.
7) Passenger transportation
The economic principle of substitution states that when something becomes expensive, people will substitute other, cheaper things for it. This helps explain why passenger transportation (such as riding the bus) experienced 12%, 5%, and 4% growth during the most recent three recessions. Many people no doubt decided it was cheaper to ride the bus than continue insuring and fueling expensive automobiles.
8. ) Poultry processing
This industries 2% growth rate in each of the three most recent recessions can be summed up with the maxim “hey, everybody’s gotta eat!” As one of the staples of the American diet, poultry processing plants and companies have managed to hold their ground during times of economic uncertainty. While 2% growth may not be phenomenal, it’s far better than most industries manage during bad times!
9) Motor vehicle towing
It’s not alltogether clear why motor vehicle towing grew 6%, 2%, and 4% during 1990, 2001, and 2007, but there are several plausible hypotheses. One is that people spend less money on vehicle maintenance when cash is tight, leading to more breakdowns and thus the need for towing. Another is that high anxiety and stress levels of the masses lead to more accidents, thereby necessitating more towing services. Whatever the case, this industry has grown robustly during the 3 recent recessions.
10) Water and sewage
Like eating and pet care, sewage use is more or less constant regardless of the current economic state. In fact, there is reason to believe sewage use may actually increase during recessions. When people are laid off, it stands to reason that they are spending more time at home, using their own restrooms and water supplies rather than those of their employers. Perhaps this explains water and sewage’s 4%, 2%, and 8% growth!
11) Consumer lending
One of the obvious impacts of recessions is that money is tight and consumer confidence is low. However, consumers still want and need to buy things, which is why many of them turn to banks and financial institutions. Whether in the form of credit cards or outright loans, consumer lending has gone up 3%, 8%, and 9% during the three most recent recessions.
12) Financial transaction processing and clearing
For much the same reason, financial transaction processing and clearing experiences growth during recessions as well. Once consumers are approved for their loans and/or credit cards, they need to be processed and cleared, often by the same institutions who did the lending, but sometimes also by financial “middleman” institutions. This sector has boasted recession growth numbers roughly parallel with consumer lending, at 2%, 6%, and 8%.
13) Portfolio management
Recessions do not only affect poor people. Even (and sometimes especially) the well-off begin to get nervous when the economy takes a dive, prompting them to ensure that their investment portfolios are getting the most bang for their buck in the marketplace. This helps explain why portfiolo management services grew 6%, 2%, and 5% during the 1990, 2001, and 2007 recessions. There is simply no tolerance for dead-weight investment during such lean times!
14) Investment advice
Going hand-in-hand with portfolio management is investment advice, a sector that has grown 4%, 11%, and 11% during the same timeframe. Investment banks and stock brokers are sought out for their expertise by investors who want to earn a higher return, and those who can provide such services are richly rewarded with growth in income at a time when other sectors are hurting.
15) Direct health and medical insurance
Medical insurers have grown to the tune of 7%, 2%, and 3% during the most recent economic plunges. One possible reason is the increase in stress and anxiety-related illnesses and disorders so commonly associated with recessions, as people fear for their jobs, homes, and livelihoods. Whatever the reason, this is one sector that can be counted on for growth during rough times.
16) Self-storage centers
A common cost-cutting measure taken during recessions is to move to a smaller home or apartment, which will cost less to heat, insure, and live in. However, most of us cannot make such a move without finding somewhere to store our excess belongings during the move. This is where storage centers come in and reap 4%, 11%, and 3% growth in recession economies where most industries are struggling just to survive. It’s the old adage of business: find a need and fill it!
17) Tax preparation services
Nobody likes taxes (regardless of how the economy is doing), but when consumers are feeling the pinch of a recession, they are more vigilant than ever about making sure they aren’t paying one cent more than they have to in taxes. Hence why tax preparation services have grown 40% (!), 8%, and 39% (!!) during the most recent recessions. These are astounding figures, but they underscore how resourceful the American consumer is in times of economic distress.
18) Process and logistics consulting services
When the economy is chugging along prosperously, it is easy for waste and inefficiency to be tolerated in the day-to-day operations of businesses. But when the economic picture darkens, businesses can seldom afford such sloth. For this and other reasons, consultants who claim they can eliminate inefficiencies and cut costs associated with logistics have reaped 3%, 3%, and 4% growth during the 1990, 2001, and 2007 recessions. (This is a key point: any business or person who can help people cut costs is valuable and even more valuable during recessions!)
19) Veterinary services
Remember: our cuddly companions don’t know what the economy is doing, so they can’t eat less – or get hurt less often – when the Dow Jones takes a dive. And naturally, most pet owners aren’t going to let Rover suffer from heartworm just because money is tight. All of this spells relief for veterinary services, who have grown 6%, 4%, and 4% in recent recession years.
20) Security guards and armored car services
The security guard/armored car services industry has grown 3%, 6%, and 3% in recent recesssion years. Why? It’s most likely because shoplifting, vandalism, and other mischief costs businesses even more dearly during recessions than during normal or prosperous times. Most firms are having enough trouble staying afloat without such unnecessary hassles draining even more money from the budget.
21) Elementary and secondary schools
Remember: our compulsory government-run school system is immune from recessions. We are forced via taxation to fund the system and send our children to be taught by it. For this reason, it is hardly surprising that elementary and secondary schools have grown 3%, 6%, and 3% during recession years. Some of this growth no doubt includes private school tuitions as well, because after all, a recesson is no excuse for not educating one’s children!
22) Junior colleges
Recessions serve as a wake-up call to those who lack the skills or credentials to get well-paying jobs. This, in turn, motivates many people who chose not to get an education sooner to get one now. Could this be why junior colleges have grown 8%, 7%, and 7% during the 1990, 2001, and 2007 recessions? It seems as plausible a reason as any.
23) Colleges and universities
More of the same here. Having a two or four-year college degree instantly makes someone more marketable in the job market, which is why college enrollment tends to spike during recessions. Accordingly, colleges and universities have grown 1%, 7%, and 2% during the three most recent ones. An economist would say this represents people taking steps to build their “human capital.”
24) Educational support services
Since the schools have more money to spend during recessions, they are, in turn, able to spread that money around in providing for their own needs. This is partially why educational support services have some of the most robust recession growth rates of any other industry, clocking in at 10% growth during 1990, 11% growth during 2001, and an astounding 20% growth during 2007. As John F. Kennedy would say, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” When education (or any sector) does well, those sectors connected to it tend to benefit by association.
25) Ambulatory health care services
As we have already seen, medical and health-related industries suffer little (and in fact grow) during recessions. Whether it be due to stress-related problems caused by the recession or just the fact that people get sick and injured all the time regardless, ambulatory health care services have grown 6%, 4%, and 4% during the three most recent recessions. Kennedy’s saying clearly applies to the medical and health fields as well!
As noted in part one of this article, healthcare and medical services are largely immune to the pressures of recessions. Physicians offices, for example, grew 5%, 4%, and 4% during 1990, 2001, and 2007?s recessions, respectively. Interestingly, the Bureau of Labor statistics indicate that mental health physicians are excluded from this figure.
The inner workings of our mouths are blissfully unaware of the recession. Cavities form, gums bleed, and root canals need to be performed regardless of the how the Dow Jones or S&P 500 did last week. It should come as little surprise, then, than dentists achieved 2%, 2%, and 4% growth during the three most recent recessions.
28) Specialty therapists
Specialty therapists (such as behavioral therapists, physical therapists, and psychotherapists) enjoyed 15%, 7%, and 7% growth during the 1990, 2001, and 2007 recessions. While the territory covered by those considered to be “specialty therapists” is too broad to draw truly valid inferences from, it’s worth noting that this sector has achieved significant and sometimes even robust growth in the face of economic adversity.
29) All other health practitioners
Other health practitioners achieved growth rates of 10%, 7%, and 8%, continuing the fascinating trend of health sectors being virtually immune from recession-related turmoil. By now, a clear signal should be emerging to job-seekers: if you have the skills, the health field will happily absorb you during good times or bad!
Podiatrists (or “foot doctors”) have remained strong in the face of recessions, turning in growth rates of 7%, 3%, and 3% in each of the three recessions that statistics were collected for. It appears as though foot, lower leg, and ankle injuries do not slow down with the economy, as evidenced by the significant growth in this field!
31) Outpatient care centers
Hospitals and doctors offices aren’t the only healthcare sectors who seem to be a step ahead of recessions. Outpatient care centers (facilities used by patients who are not hospitalized overnight but whom need diagnosis or treatment) have grown by 4%, 3%, and 3% during the timeframe discussed. Remember Kennedy’s quote: “a rising tide lifts all boats!”
HMO medical centers have seen 5%, 2%, and 3% bumps in growth during the last three recessions. The types of people employed by HMOs range from doctors to nurses to secretaries, so don’t think that it’s just strictly medical professionals who benefit from this growth. Anyone who is employed by these places is no doubt sharing in the prosperity as well!
33) Kidney dialysis centers
Dialysis is a technique used to provide an artificial replacement for lost kidney functions in patients who have suffered renal failure. (For those who do not know, the kidneys are critical for urination and filtering our bloodstream.) Naturally, such problems do not stop happening due to recessions, which explains the 4%, 6%, and 2% growth rates experienced by kidney dialysis centers during the three most recent recessions.
34) Emergency medical centers
As we alluded to in part one of this article, there is likely a higher percentage of car accidents and stress-related injuries and illnesses during recessions due to the economic pressures being felt. Another upshot of this is growth in freestanding emergency medical centers and walk-in clinics, to the tune of 5% over each of the 1990, 2001, and 2007 recessions.
35) Medical laboratories
Medical laboratires such as those required to process blood work and X-Rays have also benefited from the growth of healthcare sectors during recessions, growing 4%, 3%, and 3% respectively. Again, this is an example of a health facility that would employ many non-health employees, such as administrative assistants, data-entry clerks, etc.
36) Home health care services
Employees working under this umbrella include assisted living personell, in-house doctors, and the like. While it is not immediately clear why this type of healthcare has grown (one would imagine that it is more expensive to have someone visit your house than to visit a facility), this sector has experienced tremendous recession growth – 19%, 5%, and 7% in 1990, 2001, and 2007, respectively.
37) Blood and organ banks
A man waiting for type 0 blood or a replacement heart does not stop needing them because the economy tanked. This translates to significant growth for blood and organ banks, who clocked in at 5%, 8%, and 5% growth during the three most recent recessions. If you or someone you know is employed in this area, there is probably little need to worry!
38) Hospitals (general and surgical)
General and surgical hospitals are yet another beneficiary of recession-economy growth, although not quite as much as some of the other, more specialized sectors. Hospitals have turned in growth rates of 3%, 3%, and 2% in each the the last 3 recessions.
39) Substance abuse hospitals
A tragic reality of recessions is that some of those affected turn to hard drugs and alcohol to numb their pain. Those who lack effective coping strategies are more apt to overdose on painkillers or drink themselves sick than seek the help they need. This could help explain why substance abuse hospitals have grown by 1%, 3%, and 2% during 1990, 2001, and 2007.
40) Nursing care facilities
When the costs of independent living become too high (as they often do in recessions), senior citizens suffering ailments often opt to check into nursing care facilities. This would appear to be a driving force behind the 6%, 2%, and 2% growth nursing homes experienced during the past three recessions.
41) Homes for the elderly
Along the same lines as nursing home growth, homes for the elderly have seen 9%, 7%, and 3% growth rates during the most recent recessions. Once again, this likely reflects the desire of the elderly to get into some kind of secure living arrangement at a time when the economy is volatile and uncertain.
42) Services for the disabled
Here is another classic example of a service that cares nothing for the state of the economy: services for the disabled. Those with chronic ailments and illnesses need just as much help in bad economic times as they do in good ones, a fact that is reflected in the robust 8%, 11%, and 7% growth rate this sector has achieved in the last three economic collapses.
43) Community housing
An obvious problem caused by recessions is increased unemployment, which in the worst cases leads the less fortunate to lose their homes. This explains why community housing, emergency, and relief-based organizations have reaped 8%, 7%, and 3% growth during the last three recessions. Too often, these organizations are the only things standing between the less fortunate and living on the street.
44) Child care
Many adults try to pick up more hours and overtime during recessions in an effort to squirrel money away. (After all, it is never known in advance how long the recession will last and how far each dollar will have to be stretched.) A consequence of this has been 7%, 4%, and 2% growth in the child care sector. After all, somebody’s got to watch the kids while the parents do all that extra work!
45) Sports agents
Most athletes have one economically useful skill: the ability to play a sport. This means the athlete must strive to maximize his use of that skill while he is still young and able enough to do so, and this is especially true during recessions. Taking this into account, it’s no shock that sports agents achieve 7%, 7%, and 6% growth in recessions, when they are ultra-incentivized to negotiate more lucrative contracts for their clients.
46) Zoos and natural parks
During recessions, expensive forms of entertainment like movie theaters, pro sporting events, and vacations become unaffordable. Stepping in to fill the void are the many zoos and natural parks, which are typically priced far lower than the above activities. Such places have realized 6%, 3%, and 10% growth rates during the past three recessions.
47) Amusement parks
Interestingly, one entertainment venue that doesn’t seem to buckle beneath the pressures of recession are amusement parks. Places like Six Flags and Lake Compounce have achieved 12% (!), 3%, and 5% growth during the 1990, 2001, and 2007 recessions, respectively. It’s tough to explain this one, but there are a few anamolies in almost every statistical category!
48) Nail salons
Nail salons have turned in growth rates of 2%, 9%, and 9% during the last three recessions. One possible explanation is that women who have been laid off or whom are unable to find work have more free time and opt to spend some of it getting their nails done. Outside of this, it’s somewhat difficult to explain why this seemingly optional activity actually gets used more during recessions than in prosperous times.
49) Local government administration
Not surprisingly, municipal governments grow during recession. Since they are primarily staffed by careerists and bureaucrats (who are by definition concerned with preserving their status more than anything else), it can hardly be described as shocking that their activities grow 1%, 2%, and 2% during recessions. Some of this growth is also likely to to increased use of government services during recessions.
50) Local government transportation
The 6%, 4%, and 2% growth in local government transportation seems to indicate that government employees are using their work vehicles more during recessions. This could either be the employees using government vehicles for personal use (to save gas, wear and tear on their own privately owned cars), or that they are using government vehicles more because of increased use of government services, or a combination of both.