13 Best Jobs in Hard Times

By Marty Nemko, Kiplinger

A 2009 CNN poll found 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.

>> Find jobs in Accounting.

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.

>> Find Jobs in Education.

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.

>> Find Jobs in the Entertainment Industry.

4. Utility companies

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

>> Find Jobs with a Utility Company.

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.

>> Find Jobs as a Repairer.

6. Energy industry

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

>> Find Jobs in the Energy Industry.

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.

>> Find Jobs in Health Care.

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.

>> Find Jobs in Senior Services.

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

>> Find Jobs in Law Enforcement.

10. "Sin" industries

Jobs related to the liquor and sex 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.)

>> Find Jobs in the Liquor Industry.

11. The clergy

People seek spiritual support in tough times.

>> Find Jobs with the Clergy.

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.

>> Find a Job in Collections.

13. Government work

The Obama presidency is creating government jobs across the board but especially in 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.

>> Find Jobs in the Government.

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.

Next:Top 10 Companies Hiring Right Now! >>

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

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