A steady stream of discouraging economic news is creating fear of the dreaded "R" word. Economists at Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley say the U.S. is heading for its first full recession in 16 years. A recent CNN poll found that 57 percent of the public believes the U.S. is in a recession already.
This could hit some job seekers hard. However, many employment sectors are expected to remain strong despite a possible recession, and job seekers may have more success if they focus on recession-proof professions.
According to information at Yahoo! HotJobs.com there are careers out there that may offer a good chance of weathering a recession storm this year.
In general the education filed is relatively recession-proof according the U.S. bureau of Labor Statistics. Demographics make the difference with areas like the Sun Belt offering better prospects than the Rust Belt.
Jobs related to oil and gas, alternative energy and even nuclear related are likely to see strong growth, say experts at Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that almost half of the 30 fastest growing occupations are concentrated in health services--including medical assistants, physical therapists, physician assistants, home health aides and medical records and health information technicians.
Experts also say that international business opportunities are available. Those who have a strong knowledge of other cultures and an ability to work in another country will find plenty of opportunities.
The security field continues to grow. Crime doesn't stop in a recession; in fact, it often increases so police officers, port security specialists and international security experts will continue to be in demand.
There is a huge and growing industry geared to combat global warming.
"Not only will professionals with skills in sustainability issues be in demand through the end of the decade, we are likely to shortages of professionals with 'green' skills," said Rona Fried, president of sustainablebusiness.com, a networking service for sustainable businesses.
This bodes well for those interested in the environmental field. The "Environmental Magazine's" list of booming eco-friendly job sectors includes careers in solar water heating system installation, renewable energy, National Park Service jobs, fish campaign organizer and organic farming.
Web sites like Green Jobs and EnvironmentalCareer.com lists hundreds of jobs in the environmental sciences and energy fields. They also list transferable jobs into the green field--for example, a senior billing coordinator for environmental consultants.
Big name companies like Walt Disney Company post jobs on the Business for Social Responsibility Jobs Board.
The TreeHugger Job Board lists dozens of business and organizations with openings in the "green" field.
Jobs with the National Park Service can place you anywhere from Hawaii to Wyoming. They have 16,000 permanent employees and another 10,000 seasonal employees every year.
Other hot fields include environmental law, information technology, government planning and land use and waste management and recycling. Plus, jobs such as accounting, human resources and project management continue to be needed within environmental organizations of all types.
Sophia Koropeckyi, an economist at Moody's Economy.com believes there will continue to be issues from the deflating housing bubble.
"The housing slump will touch anything related to housing, from real estate to investment banks, to engineering and architecture," Koropeckyi said.
Though public sector jobs grew at a fast clip in the last five years, state and local government jobs are likely to slow as home values and tax revenues sink.
She indicated that the housing slump could even extend to industries dependent on discretionary spending, like restaurants and retail.
Manufacturing, too, in dire need of an upswing, is likely to keep waiting for one through 2008, Koropeckyj said.