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Even in a recession, these jobs won't evaporate

NEW YORK — The unemployment rate in Detroit was 9.6 percent in September, according to the Labor Department. But more than 1,100 advertisements seeking registered nurses in the Detroit area can be found online.

Around Riverside, Calif., where unemployment reached 9.1 percent in November, there are hundreds of jobs advertised for network systems analysts. Physical therapists can find more than 600 opportunities near Providence, R.I., which had one of the largest jobless rate increases in the last year.

With the nation slipping into recession and unemployment creeping higher, workers in some industries will feel the pain more than others. Layoffs in the manufacturing and financial services industries have made headlines, for instance, but the continued need for a variety of health care workers has largely gone under the radar.

Laurence Shatkin crunched government data to come up with a list of occupations that should be able to withstand economic downturn. Among the top 10 in his book, 150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs, are network systems analysts, registered nurses and physical therapists.

"There's no crystal ball that I have, or guarantee that these are bulletproof jobs," said Shatkin, a career information consultant. Statistics show fields like these are among the least sensitive to downturns, offer the highest pay and are least susceptible to being moved offshore.

His top 10, developed from the jobs that scored highest in those three areas, fall generally in the high tech, health care and college education fields.

Some of the professions on his list, like physicians and surgeons, require years of training, but reward those who make it through with high pay. Others, like dental hygienists, need only two years of education. But all of the opportunities in health care aren't tied to additional training. For instance the growing demand for health care services will require a parallel growth in the number of administrators to manage the workload.

Many careers listed in the book, like law enforcement, fire fighting, auto repair, public utility work and even funeral directors, may pay less, but nevertheless reflect fairly secure outlooks. "People like that are always needed, no matter what the economy goes through," he said.

Shatkin noted that regional variations will always take place, especially when downturns have a disproportionate impact in certain areas.

One sign of what to expect can be found in plans for new hiring. The National Association of Colleges and Employers polled employers about their hiring plans for new college graduates, and found just three areas where they expect to increase hiring. The government sector was projected to have the biggest increase, 19.8 percent; professional services was expected to rise 1.7 percent; manufacturing was seen edging up 0.3 percent. Spokesman Edwin Koc said the manufacturing increase was expected in the technology and defense industries, while the professional services figure reflected things like information technology, engineering and accounting.

Recession-proof jobs

1. Computer systems analysts

2. Network systems, data communications analysts

3. Network and computer systems administrators

4. Registered nurses

5. Teachers, postsecondary

6. Physical therapists

7. Physicians and surgeons

8. Dental hygienists

9. Pharmacists

10. Medical and health services managers

From "150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs" by Laurence Shatkin

High tech

Technology jobs like computer systems analysts are hard to send overseas because their work is collaborative, Laurence Shatkin said. Networking can focus on different aspects of technology, but the common thread is a need for people to set up and maintain the networks and develop products that use them.

Health care

The need for nurses has been rising for years. Other health care jobs like physical therapists, physician assistants and pharmacists also make the list. These professions are needed to support the modern health care system, and to meet the needs of baby boomers as they age and require more types of treatment.

College education

Colleges are seeing

waves of retirements among experienced professors, and they have a strong need to replace them as the demand for higher education continues to grow, said Shatkin, author of 150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs.

Even in a recession, these jobs won't evaporate 01/03/09 [Last modified: Sunday, January 4, 2009 10:42am]
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