Australia markets open in 4 hours 18 minutes

    -19.10 (-0.23%)

    -0.0028 (-0.42%)
  • ASX 200

    -18.30 (-0.23%)
  • OIL

    -1.10 (-1.34%)
  • GOLD

    +41.00 (+1.69%)
  • Bitcoin AUD

    +1,925.60 (+2.04%)
  • CMC Crypto 200

    +8.35 (+0.62%)

Revealed: Worst jobs to be in during a recession

Pictured: Shoppers and Australian workers in Brisbane mall. Image: Getty
There are growing concerns an Australian recession is around the corner. Image: Getty

Volatility in the Australian stock market has abated this week, but with eyes stuck on the inverted yield curve - a major recession indicator, concerns about a major economic downturn remain.

And with those, worries about personal finances and incomes increase.

While some jobs like teaching, nursing and caring will always be required, there are other occupations more sensitive to changes in economic conditions, economist at Indeed, Callum Pickering told Yahoo Finance.


According to an analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data over the 1990-91 recession and the following downturns in 2008-09 and 2013, only 9.5 per cent of occupations actually saw a fall in employment over each period.

Another 23 per cent of occupations saw employment fall in three of the four periods, while 37 per cent of jobs saw employment decline in two of the four periods.

“A recession represents a decline in production or spending. Faced with tight budgets, households and businesses look to tighten their belts, cutting any unnecessary or extravagant spending in favour of the necessities,” Pickering said.

“And that is reflected in the type of jobs that struggle during a recession or downturn.”


Downturns can be difficult for tradesmen, with it uncommon for plumbers, painters, builders, plasterers and handypersons find it difficult to get work during these periods.

“With budgets tight, many households may choose to delay projects that are not urgent, such as fixing the sink or painting the house,” Pickering explained.

Manufacturing workers

The manufacturing sector is particularly sensitive to economic conditions, with employment for crane and hoist operators machine operators, manufacturing workers and product assemblers often dipping as the economy weakens.


“Even the head honcho cannot escape the effects of a recession,” Pickering said.

“A key characteristic of every recession or downturn is elevated bankruptcies. Businesses are more likely to collapse during a recession than when the economy is firing on all cylinders. As a result, CEOs and managing directors are often forced to find work elsewhere.”


As truck drivers’, delivery drivers’ and forklift drivers’ work often relies on economic activity, a downturn is rarely good news.

“If economic activity declines then opportunities to deliver goods or move products may decline as well,” Pickering said.


Employment for crop and livestock farmers frequently struggles during downturns - although if global markets remain strong, any negative effects are largely mitigated.


Finance workers face the greatest risk among white collar workers, Pickering said.

“When an economy is in recession, the financial sector tends to struggle. Share prices and property prices typically decline and lending activity craters. That’s not good for industry employment.

“Employment for accountants and bookkeepers normally declines, so too does employment for financial advisors, dealers and brokers.”

Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit
Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit

The Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit will take place on the 26th September 2019 at the Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney. Check out the full line-up of speakers and agenda here.