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Recession-Proof? 11 Stable Careers That Resist Economic Downturns

Recession-Proof? 11 Stable Careers That Resist Economic Downturns
Credit: Tomertu/Shutterstock

The Great Recession took put millions of Americans out of work and left many struggling to make ends meet. While the U.S. economy has recovered and is fairly healthly today, it never hurts to be prepared for the next downturn.

Although no job is completely recession-proof, there are some occupations that give employees a better chance to withstand an economic downturn's negative consequences. According to Glassdoor, the online jobs and recruiting marketplace, employees working in health care, government, education and accounting tend to have a better chance of keeping their jobs during periods of economic hardship.

Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor, said jobs in those industries have been less correlated to business-cycle fluctuations, like recessions.

"If you are looking to reduce the risk of losing your job during times of a recession, we know that in the past, jobs in health care, education and utilities have not suffered as many job losses as in other fields during a down cycle," Chamberlain said in a statement. "Also, if you have a union job and/or work in government, we know these positions can be cushioned from the slings and arrows of economic variation." [See Related Story: The 25 Best Jobs in America for 2016]

To help those looking for jobs that could survive the effects of a recession, Glassdoor highlighted 11 positions that offer the best chances at stability:

  1. Teacher: Public school teachers are often members of labor unions, which can make their positions difficult to eliminate. In addition, a down economy doesn't affect the number of children attending school.
  2. Funeral director: Recessions don't have any bearing on people dying. Families are always going to need services that help lay their loved ones to rest.
  3. Physician assistant: Medical care is always in need, regardless of economic conditions. Physician's assistants also have flexibility of being able to switch practices if necessary.
  4. Professor: While attaining tenure can be a long and difficult process, those who do achieve such positions enjoy job security that most people only dream of. That type of job security is one of the most enviable achievements in the education industry.
  5. Accountant: Having to pay taxes is one of the few certainties in life. Individuals and businesses will always need accountants to help fill out returns come tax season.
  6. Auditor: Federal law mandates that certain types of companies perform audits annually. These audits must be conducted in both good and bad economic conditions.
  7. Nurse: The need for health care doesn't fluctuate with a rising or falling economy. People always need medical services, and the demand will likely rise with the aging baby boomer population.
  8. Utility worker: These workers are responsible for keeping the country running. They are in charge of keeping roads in good condition, the electricity working and taking the trash away, among other things. Those services will always be needed, even if the economy isn't flourishing.
  9. Actuary: The job of an actuary is actually more in demand during economic hardships. These professionals help organizations minimize risk. Because of the value actuaries bring, it's hard to eliminate these positions during recessions.
  10. Teacher's aide: Even if the economy is performing poorly, educators will still be needed. Since teacher's aides fall under the umbrella of education and teaching, their jobs often remain safe during recessions.
  11. Nurse's aide: Nurse's aides have a variety of employment options. They can work in hospitals and nursing homes, and provide home care. Even if the economy takes a turn for the worse, people will still need these types of health care services.

Chamberlain said he chose all of the jobs on this list because they are connected to industries that are less affected by business-cycle fluctuations

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.