Recession Proof Jobs & Industries for 2021

Recession proof jobs might be a bit of a fantasy. An economic downturn is bound to affect everything it touches, but some industries perform far better than others. 

Here’s a list of our top industries and jobs that fare best during troubling times.

Recession Proof Jobs 2021

Recession Proof Jobs


Questions Answered:

  • What is a recession?

  • List of recession proof industries (and jobs)

  • How to recession proof your current career

  • Worst jobs to have during a recession


What is a Recession? 

Before we go much further, it’s important to define what a recession is. The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) says a recession is a decline in economic activity that lasts an extended period, sometimes months but up to years. 

Recessions can happen for all sorts of reasons.

Sometimes it’s due to a country’s excessive debt, inflation, or deflation. Other times it’s due to a sudden economic shock like a country might face during a pandemic or natural disaster.

Most often, though, it’s due to various factors, and, regardless, individuals have no control over when it happens. 


Recession Proof Jobs (Industries)

During a recession, it’s common for people to lose work because companies are producing and selling less than before.

Some industries, though, are considered recession-proof and will hardly feel the economic downturn at all. Let’s zoom in on a few that you can tweak your resume to fit. 

1. Healthcare 

Even if a country’s economy makes a sudden decline, those in the healthcare field typically do alright.

No matter what happens, people will still get sick or injured and find themselves in need of medical care. 

Of course, some parts of the healthcare industry do better than others.

If you’re a trauma nurse or X-ray technician, you’ll likely still be in business. But, if you’re a plastic surgeon who specializes in elective procedures, you might find yourself struggling. 

Example Jobs:

  • Personal Care Aide

  • Nurse Practitioner

  • Physical Therapist

  • Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

  • Occupational Therapy Assistant

2. Federal Employees 

Working for the government always has its perks, and one of them is typically being safe during an economic downturn.

Even when other industries start to collapse, the country still needs government services.

Court systems, the military, and working for the post office all tend to provide greater job security during a recession than working in the private sector

Example Jobs:

  • Postal Service Mail Carriers

  • Office Clerks

3. Public Safety 

Police officers, firefighters, and even security guards tend to be safe from job loss during a recession.

Sometimes they’re in even higher demand as crime rates tend to rise when the economy goes bad. 

Example Jobs:

  • Police Officers

  • Correctional Officers

  • Firefighters

4. Education 

Children don’t stop going to school when recessions hit, making teaching or school administration a safe bet.

Of course, college professors and other academics are usually in a good place too. 

It’s common for those who lost or can’t find jobs to go back to school in hopes of making themselves more valuable to the employers that are still hiring. 

Example Jobs:

  • School Teachers

  • Janitors or Custodians

  • Special Education Teachers

5. Grocery/Food Production 

We all have to eat, even when times are tough! So, grocery store employees are almost always safe from job loss.

It’s not just checkers and baggers that maintain their positions, though. Food manufacturers, especially for staple items like milk, rice and bread, tend to be fine as well. 

Example Jobs:

  • Warehouse Director

  • Cashiers

  • Buyers

  • Store Managers

Recession Stat from Acorn

6. Lawyers

Some areas of law may struggle during a recession, but most legal professionals make it out unscathed.

Unfortunately, things like crime and divorce can be more common in periods of economic uncertainty.

Attorneys that specialize in those areas are usually indispensable, even during a recession. 

Example Jobs:

  • Paralegals

  • Court reporters

  • Legal Assistants

  • Lawyers

7. Debt Counselors 

Obviously, job loss leads to debt for many, so debt counseling services tend to be in high demand during a recession.

Becoming a debt counselor or credit specialist is a good choice in the event of a recession. 

Example Jobs:

  • Collections Representative

  • Call Center Manager

8. Funeral Services 

Sadly, death doesn’t stop during a recession, and grieving families still need help laying their loved ones to rest.

Whether as a funeral director, embalming specialist, or gravedigger, those with jobs in this area will likely be fine in a recession.

Example Jobs:

  • Funeral Attendant

  • Embalmer

  • Sales Manager



How To Recession-Proof Your Current Career 

Maybe finding a recession proof job isn’t an option based on your skillset. Don’t fret.

There are plenty of things you can do to make sure you survive a recession without much of a negative impact. 

  • Become Indispensable

    • Ask what you bring to the table that no one else can. Do you have experience in a specific area? Do you have a skill that your coworkers don’t? Maybe you know a second language or how to work a particular machine.

    • Essentially, think beyond your current job title. Try to be creative so that when push comes to shove and your job’s on the line, you can convince your employer you’re too valuable to let go.

  • Develop a Side Hustle 

    • Whether it’s driving for Uber or opening up an Etsy store, side hustles can help make ends meet if you do lose your job. Sometimes they even blossom into a new career! 

    • Plus, side gigs can act as a creative outlet, which can help when things get rough. Mental health is hugely important during a recession, especially if you’re out of your regular work. 

  • Work Your Network 

    • Keeping up with colleagues and peers is a good idea for career progress in general. During a recession, it can be vital.

    • The truth is, you can do everything at work right and still lose your current job. Staying active in your network can help you find a new position that much faster if things take a turn for the worst. 

  • Continue Your Education 

    • Take advantage of certifications and continuing education opportunities when they arise.

    • Sitting through the six-hour health and safety seminar might seem like a drag, but being the certified health and safety person at work might save your place during a recession. Certifications can be costly, and employers don’t want to lose on their investments.

    • Plus, extra education or certifications never looks bad on a resume if it comes down to that.  


Worst Jobs to Have During a Recession (Industries)

  • Travel Industry

    • During recessions, people tend to postpone any unnecessary travel.

  • Construction

    • Construction projects are usually put on hold during tough times.

  • Furniture

    • During a downturn, people hold off on making major purchases like furniture.

  • Office Supplies

    • While projects and work dial back, so does the supplies needed to work them.


Wrapping Up | Recession Proof Jobs

When all is said and done, a real recession proof job might be more fiction than fact.

But there are things you can do to help yourself when the economy’s out of whack. 

To recap our top industries:

  • Healthcare

  • Federal Employees

  • Public Safety

  • Education

  • Food Production

  • Lawyers

  • Debt Counselor

  • Funeral Services

You can search for a job in specific industries known to fare better than others, or you can make yourself indispensable at work. 

Either option is better than doing nothing.

Good luck out there!


Title: Recession Proof Jobs for 2021

Category: theStart

Tags: Recession proof jobs, recession proof industry, jobs during a recession, recession proof jobs 2021, what jobs are recession proof


Author: Reid is a contributor to theJub. He's an employment and marketing enthusiast who studied business before taking on various recruiting, management, and marketing roles. More from the author.