As we enter the downturn driven by Covid-19 (may it be very short!), I’ve been struck by notices from governors and mayors outlining the “essential” positions that can continue working because of their necessity for society’s functioning. Many of these positions are blue-collar and that continues a trend from recessions past – blue-collar jobs often continue working even as other parts of the economy shut down.
In fact, this durability is a good reason to consider certain blue-collar careers and the pay stability for these positions bumps some of them up my list of “The Best Blue-Collar Careers For The Next Decade”.
So what industries and positions are recession-proof? Positions with demand that remains constant are good bets. Some of my favorite recession-proof positions and job sectors include:
Public Utilities – Public utilities are too big and too important to be shuttered. Those who work to deliver us water, power, and communication lines are usually insulated from recessions. After all, those lines have to be maintained and long-term investment concerns generally outweigh short-term changes in the economy.
Healthcare – Blue-collar positions like medical sonographer, nurse, and home health aides fare well in the healthcare industry even during recessions. Healthcare is not typically something that can be put off and it’s not something that people can cut back on, so employment and pay in this industry stay steady.
Plumbers – Accidents happen and leaky pipes have no regard for the world happening outside our homes. Thus, a lot of a plumber’s work is not set by discretionary spending but instead remains constant. Thus plumbers can expect business to carry on even as other occupations close up shop.
Police Officers – While a precinct might slow down hiring during a recession, those already on the force are kept on. Unfortunately, crime doesn’t stop just because the economy has. The public still needs protection and municipalities are reluctant to sacrifice public safety, so police officers are insulated from fluctuations.
Moving and relocation services – Movers stay busy even in a downturn. Renters still change apartments, families move, and unfortunately, defaults and evictions increase during recessions, which keeps these professionals busy.
Sanitation Workers – People still need to dispose of trash and refuse, so sanitation workers are immune from shifts in the economy.
Firefighters – Like the other positions on this list, firefighters are essential and the nature of demand for their services is not related to the state of the economy. In good economic times and bad, firefighters are always ready to save the day.
Public Transit Workers – Public transit tends to continue running and conductors, drivers, ticket personnel, and maintenance are all essential to keeping the system running.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, many other careers and positions are protected from recessions. For instance, some positions as construction workers, HVAC techs, security staff, electricians, and hazardous materials handlers remain essential.
If you’re inclined to take a position that offers you shelter from economic downturns, any of the above will be a good choice of career.
Find your path in my book Blue Collar Cash.