Advertisement
business

13 Hot Jobs in Hard Times

When the going gets tough, these careers get going.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was updated March 2009.

A recent CNN poll finds that nearly 60% of Americans believe we're likely facing a depression. Although most Americans would, of course, suffer in an economic depression, some careers should remain strong, maybe even bolstered by tough times.

1. Accounting. Bad times increase businesses' and individuals' desire to wisely account for every last dollar. Accounting jobs have declined in recent months but a bevy of planned new federal regulations may be a full-employment act for accountants.

Advertisement - Article continues below

2. Education. Even in the recent tough times, our political leaders are calling for increased education spending and voters continue to pass education bonds.

Community colleges should also thrive. Unable to land a good job, many people will return to school for retraining. Even those with college degrees will turn to community colleges because they typically offer practical career-related training and at an affordable price.

3. Entertainment industry. During the Great Depression, the movie industry boomed as people craved escapism and had time to burn. That would likely be the same today: the film, video game, sports, and creative arts industries should be viable.

4. Utility companies. This is the classic defensive investment. Even in the worst times, utilities stay cranking.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

5. Repairers. Home, car, commercial, industrial -- in a bad economy, the rule is don't replace; repair. For example, in a depression, struggling car manufacturers will more often opt to repair than replace a balky welding robot.

Advertisement - Article continues below

6. Energy industry. Despite all the media attention to solar, wind, etc., the nuclear industry may, over the next decade, create the most jobs.

7. Health care. especially registered nurses, physician assistants, internal medicine physicians, dentists, optometrists, pharmacists, and physical therapy assistants.

There should also be a boom in jobs related to healthcare reform, a Barack Obama priority. Many government jobs in accounting, actuarial science, information systems and management should result.

8. Senior services. An increasingly aging population will increase the need for housing, home retrofitting, geriatric care management, and, of course, the aforementioned health care.

9. Law enforcement. Crime doesn't take a break in tough times. In fact, it tends to increase.

10. "Sin" industries. Jobs related to the liquor, gaming and tobacco industries have always thrived, in good times and bad.(Sin stocks may also make good investments. See The Virtues of Vice Stocks for more info.)

11. The clergy. People seek spiritual support in tough times. Particularly poised for growth: Spanish-speaking Catholic priests and Muslim Imams.

Advertisement - Article continues below

12. The repossession, foreclosure and debt collection industries. For example, there will be jobs repossessing the big SUVs from owners who knew they couldn't afford them, but took advantage of no-qualification loans.

13. Government work. The Obama presidency is likely to mean more big-government solutions, creating government jobs across the board but especially in energy, the environment, inner-city education, financial regulation, homeland security, health care, accounting/auditing, information technology, and the IRS. The government has police powers to collect taxes in good times and bad, and so will be more impervious to economic declines.

I believe that for non-stars, government is the last bastion of secure, well-benefited employment that generally requires only 40-hour workweeks, and offers ample sick days, holidays, and vacation days.

Despite the stock market freefall and the continuing parade of business failures, I am cautiously optimistic that we will avoid a depression. But it's comforting to know that even in hard times, it should be possible to thrive.

Marty Nemko (bio) is a career coach and author of Cool Careers for Dummies.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

What Trump's Payroll Tax Cut Will Mean for You
Tax Breaks

What Trump's Payroll Tax Cut Will Mean for You

President Trump issued an executive order to suspend the collection of Social Security payroll taxes. How much will it save you?
August 10, 2020
7 Surprisingly Valuable Assets for a Happy Retirement
happy retirement

7 Surprisingly Valuable Assets for a Happy Retirement

If you want a long and fulfilling retirement, you need more than money. Here are the most valuable retirement assets to have (besides money), and how …
August 3, 2020
How a Second Stimulus Check Could Differ from Your First One
Tax Breaks

How a Second Stimulus Check Could Differ from Your First One

The HEROES Act, which the House passed in May, would authorize another round of stimulus checks. While the new payments would be similar to the first …
August 11, 2020

Recommended

Worried About Losing Your Job? Take These Steps Now
careers

Worried About Losing Your Job? Take These Steps Now

Get an early start to make the most of an unsettling situation. Here’s where to start.
August 7, 2020
Can Your Boss Make You Go Back to Work?
Coronavirus and Your Money

Can Your Boss Make You Go Back to Work?

Even if you don’t have legal protections, you may be able to negotiate with your boss.
July 30, 2020
Former Baseball Player Doug Glanville Opens Up About Race, Sports During a Pandemic, and His Transition to a New Career
careers

Former Baseball Player Doug Glanville Opens Up About Race, Sports During a Pandemic, and His Transition to a New Career

This ex-baseball player is using his background to bring understanding and advocate for change.
July 30, 2020
Nursing in the Time of COVID-19
Financial Planning

Nursing in the Time of COVID-19

This health care professional warns that the pandemic will worsen the nursing shortage.
July 2, 2020