The Most Recession-Proof Jobs Right Now

By Helen Coster, Forbes

October was another dark month for the American worker, as the unemployment rate rose from 9.8% to 10.2%, the highest level since April 1983. More than 15 million Americans are now out of work, and they remain unemployed for an average of 28 weeks.

Not surprisingly, the construction sector has suffered the most, and developers are continuing to wait on the sidelines as the real estate market crawls toward recovery. Manufacturing has also been hit hard; manufacturing companies eliminated 61,000 jobs in October alone.

Forbes has tracked 625,806 layoffs since Nov. 1, 2008, at America's 500 largest companies, including recent cuts at Sprint Nextel, the videogame developer Electronic Arts, and Applied Materials, a semiconductor equipment company. On Nov. 19 AOL announced that it would cut 2,500 jobs, or one-third of its workforce, as it prepares to separate from Time Warner.

But amid the gloom, job hunters can find reasons to be optimistic. Pockets of the job market continue to show growth, especially in the fields of education and health services. Last month those perpetually resilient sectors saw some of the country's highest monthly gains in employment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job market's second-biggest gains, after health care, were in temporary help services, as employers who couldn't invest in full-time staffers turned to part-time labor instead. In October, 34,000 employees entered the workforce in new temporary jobs.

Forbes looked to the online job site Vault.com for a clear snapshot of the current job market. Vault.com developed a list of recession-proof jobs by examining all the 1.2 million jobs it aggregates through its partner site simplyhired.com and then determining the ones that were available in the greatest number.

Just as health care is the industry leading in job gains according to the BLS, the specific job at the top of Vault.com's list is registered nurse. They're in high demand thanks to a nursing shortage that will intensify as baby boomers age. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health care employment increased by 29,000 jobs in October. Since the start of the recession, the field has added 597,000 jobs. Occupational therapists, who help patients perform daily activities like eating and dressing, rank fifth on the Vault.com list.

Seasonal jobs occupy the second and third spots. Retail work, including store manager and associate, ranks No. 2, and UPS driver helper is No. 3. If you have the courage to face down shoppers on Black Friday, or want to channel your inner Santa while unloading UPS trucks, interview right away.

"These jobs wouldn't have been available in March," says Yazad Dalal, Vault.com's vice president for North American sales. "Companies are both ramping up for the holiday season and seeing their sales gradually increase." The UPS job doesn't include benefits, so if you strain your back unloading a flat-screen TV, be prepared to foot the medical bill yourself. The hourly pay starts at around $9.50.

Despite last year's meltdown on Wall Street, financial specialists are back in demand. Financial advisors rank fourth on the Vault.com list, and financial analysts make the No. 9 spot. "The last year and a half has been devastating to this industry," says Yazad Dalal. "We're seeing job numbers increase just so that these companies can get back to where they were pre-recession."

Companies are still betting on the strength of sheer revenue, so many are ramping up their sales efforts. Sales and marketing reps rank No. 6 on the list, ahead of controllers, No. 8, who direct an organization's accounting functions, typically reporting to the chief financial officer.

Today more than ever, job hunters in every field need to be creative and persistent. "Do as much networking as you can, both offline and online," says Dalal. "Some of the best jobs aren't advertised."


Top 5 Recession-Proof Jobs Today

1. Registered nurse

Job description: Most registered nurses work at hospitals, where they treat patients and provide emotional support and advice to patients' family members. Nurses also help perform diagnostic tests and analyze results, record patients' medical histories and symptoms, administer medications and treatment and help with patient follow-up and rehabilitation.

Salary: $55,000 to $90,000.


2. Retail (including store manager, assistant store manager and retail sales associate)

Job description: Run stores and help shoppers through every aspect of the retail purchase process.

Salary: Sales associates earn $15,000 to $30,000, while store managers can bring home as much as $80,000.


3. UPS driver helper(seasonal)

Job description: UPS driver helpers pack and unload UPS trucks during the holiday rush.

Salary: Part-time driver helpers receive hourly rates of $9.50 or more, depending on their locations.


4. Financial advisor

Job description: Financial advisors help businesses and individuals make investment decisions.

Salary: Compensation varies according to the client base. Private bankers, who work with wealthy clients, can earn seven figures.


5. Occupational therapist

Job description: Occupational therapists help patients improve their ability to perform tasks related to all parts of their life, from dressing and eating to typing on a computer. Therapists also help patients use adaptive equipment, such as wheelchairs. Some therapists work with infants who show signs of developmental delay.

Salary: $50,000 to $75,000.


Next: Top 10 Companies Hiring This Week >>


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97 Comments

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Arthur

I'm a recent retiree and noticed high paying jobs are being obliterated, because they the big firms want big bonus in their pockets. that's why skilled professionals liked RN's can't get a job.

January 26 2010 at 4:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
john

I/m also a air force vet/been out of work for almost two years Have a cdl-b licence withall endorsements but can/t get hire unless you have a least 1-3 years experience/unless of coarse you want to be a bus driver at which Idon/t think Ican tolerate these kids.

January 10 2010 at 7:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LINDA

to susie and Joy. I live in a very rural area in okla, as an lpn. I have never been without a job,or had to search more than a few days to find a job in the nursing field, but I am flexible with pay and hours if in need and will gladly work my way up. There is hospice, home health, case managment, nursing homes are always in need. I would say if you cant find a job, your references are hurting you. You might like to think about Case managment through advantage program/medicaid waiver. hard work but well worth it.

December 30 2009 at 7:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
godblshu

For those of you who don't know what goes on behind the scenes and just spew anti-Republican or anti-Democratic rhethoric, our economic mess was caused by several things. 1) we as a country live above our means, that being our individual lifestyles, causing us not to be able to handle downturns when they will always happen (at least one big one per generation as people forget the past) 2) our government is spending more than it collects in taxes, and either borrows the rest from other countries our creates money out of nothing (which devalues our money we spend in the economy- for everyone). Democrats want to fund that deficiency by raising taxes, which decreases the tax base. Republicans say they want to remedy that by cutting taxes and spending, but they can't seem to ever cut spending, though they do better at it than Democrats do 3) our politicians for many years now (Dems and Repubs) have set us up for a globalist economy, which by its natures causes problems with differing laws and legal disputes, and with currency exchange rate problems, thereby creating a need/desire for a one world currency and a one world government. Both have wanted this outcome, but for different reasons. Democrats want a one world socialist order wherein politicians dictate the economy, whereas Republicans want a one world capitalist order where large corporations are dictating the economy. The isolationist/protectionists oppose both of these, and there are these in all parties. I am one of these. I opposed NAFTA way back because I knew it would export our manufacturing and many service type jobs to other countries and bring in Hispanics to do our cheap labor. We were intended to be a consuming economy, living off others, but it didn't work. We took down the whole world with this globalist plan. We need to go back to being a sovereign and somewhat protectionist nation. 4) the housing crisis was started by Democratic liberals who wanted everyone to own a home and forced banks to loan to those who could not afford them. Banks and Wall Street quickly found a way to exploit this, selling off these bad loans in batches of mortgage backed securities funds, but eventually it became known they were worthless, but they were bought by big banks, bought by government pension funds, bought by foreign investors. The bailout was to bail out these investments by the Chinese, the Arab nations, the government pensions in AIG, and the big banks themselves who bought them. So we the taxpayers picked up the tab for all these investors. We had to appease the foreigners because they buy our Treasury bills which finance our country's debt. They bought out AIG mostly to save government employee pensions. They bought out the big banks because they were the insiders. This was supported by Dems and Repubs 5) technological advances have exceeded our ability to pay for them as a regular lifestyle, but we want everything 6) We support one class of our poor too well. Single parent families on welfare live better than most US workers. I am a CPA and I have two clients, one a teacher and one a 1/2 time worker on welfare. The welfare recipient has significantly more after tax income than the teacher (who makes 40k). We do this because our society does not advocate self responsibility. We help whomever no matter what they did themselves to cause their problems, and that to the extent that welfare recipients can get much more money with three babies then one baby. Illegal immigrants also use this welfare system to earn money under the table without paying taxes, but rape our welfare benefits system. Also, many on unemployment don't really look for jobs till the benefits are about to run out, except now in this bad economy when they really can't find a job. We are a corrupt society where most don't want to earn what they have and want to take it from someone who worked hard for what they have. This is indicated in our progressive tax structure wherein over 50% of our population vote for leaders who will take from the other less than 50% and give to them. 7)I could say much more, but I doubt many will even take the time to read this, as our citizens would rather look at a Michael Jackson TV program than educate itself about political and economic affairs which affect the very existence of their country.

December 17 2009 at 10:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bob

With Obama in office, we will all be on unemployment or welfare? Misery loves company and Obama is spreading plenty of misery!

December 14 2009 at 6:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
godblshu

You had better keep up to date with the latest job trends. Most of our manufacturing jobs are going overseas (due to lesser wages and lesser regulation and lesser govt intervention), except those protected by the unions and Democrats (but even they can't help car related jobs as much as they would like, as people aren't buying cars); most of our low income labor intensive jobs are being competed against by immigrants. Also, many of our professional service jobs (medical transcription, telemarketing, professional consulting, etc) are being oursourced to India, etc. Finally, we are living above our means, both personally and by our government, which is being financed by Chinese and Arab governments. We won't last much longer if these trends continue. Better get educated both for job purposes and voting purposes.

December 14 2009 at 5:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
godblshu

You had better keep up to date with the latest job trends. Most of our manufacturing jobs are going overseas (due to lesser wages and lesser regulation and lesser govt intervention), except those protected by the unions and Democrats (but even they can't help car related jobs as much as they would like, as people aren't buying cars); most of our low income labor intensive jobs are being competed against by immigrants. Also, many of our professional service jobs (medical transcription, telemarketing, professional consulting, etc) are being oursourced to India, etc. Finally, we are living above our means, both personally and by our government, which is being financed by Chinese and Arab governments. We won't last much longer if these trends continue. Better get educated both for job purposes and voting purposes.

December 14 2009 at 5:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
civearth

I would think that any job working for the government seems to be the way to go! You are always guaranteed raises and the government just keeps on getting bigger. Soon we will all have to work for the government or just receive benefits from the government!

December 14 2009 at 5:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
barb

yes i am sure they did !...and from what it sounds like you certainly have a very great knowledge of your trade...it all comes right down to corporations not wanting to pay the employees what they are worth...and the new guys getting paid less and doing more at half of the skill

December 12 2009 at 1:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joe heger

I'm thinking that the billion doallers a week they are using to fight another Viet Nam might help the job situation. But what do I know all those smart people in DC have it figured out. NOT

December 12 2009 at 1:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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