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  • Writer's pictureTerry Bierwirth

Exploring The Skilled Trades 6 Recession-Proof Trades Careers

Credit : Generation T and Richard Stockton,Senior Writer

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An economic storm is brewing, and we're teetering on the brink of disaster. At least, we are if you read the business press, or watch TV, or talk to people who claim to be experts. Lots of similarly smart experts say the so-called signs of a looming recession are actually no big deal, so the subject remains as hard to guess as always. Whether the economy is or is not about to collapse, the aftermath is going to be a lot easier if you have a stable career that doesn't come and go with the Dow Jones average. Here are six trades that are expected to keep growing, no matter what the deal is with the recession.

1. Carpentry

Carpentry is actually a lot of different trades, all of them related to the building business. Young people seeking an apprenticeship have their choice between framing, cabinetry, trim work, ornamental woodworking and so on. All of these professions are big and still growing, with something like an 8% increase in job opportunities expected between 2018 and 2028. And while homeowners might not be springing for kitchen remodels if a recession hits, they'll be needing carpenters to maintain what they already own.


Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning workers install and maintain the ducts, furnaces, and cooling units almost every house has to have. This field does well during bull markets, when there are lots of new houses built, and it keeps going strong in bear markets when everybody needs repairs and upgrades to their condensers. These people may not need brand new units, but maintaining the ones they have is important during any economic downturn.

3. Tiling/Flooring

Tiling and flooring work is integral to new construction, remodels and repairs to both residential and commercial buildings. Even when there's a recession, the major impact on flooring contractors tends to be lower-cost flooring options, such as linoleum, rather than leaving floors unfinished. Flooring contractors generally need a state-level license to work, but after that, they can expect a 3% to 7% profit margin on every job that they do.

4. Plumbing

Plumbers are the unsung heroes of modern civilization. The job they do is so obviously important, it's almost embarrassing to imagine the world without them. Even in a ruined economy, one with worse job and investment numbers than anyone is projecting for the United States in the distant future, plumbers can still expect to earn $54,000 a year as this industry grows by 14% through 2028.

5. Electricians

Electricians have a special place among the trades, and it's one that isn't going anywhere in a shrinking economy. While many trades call for a strong back and a willingness to roll up the sleeves each day, electrical work is technical enough to demand professionals who know exactly what they're doing and can't easily be replaced. Electricians are vital to housing construction, commercial building maintenance, lighting, and security system installation and even the communications industry. Boom or bust, electricians can expect to make over $55,000 a year as a median pay grade for middle-rank workers in the field.

6. Appliance Technicians

Appliance technicians fix washers and dryers, refrigerators, ovens, and other must-have home appliances. This field may be the most promising of all, given that there's basically no way the field is on the verge of shrinking. During an economic expansion, people are constantly buying new and very complex appliances that will eventually need a fix. During a recession, meanwhile, people are holding on to their older appliances longer, requiring the services of a repair tech all the more. Appliance technicians may also have the broadest range of career options since they can work for big manufacturers, medium-sized repair companies or on their own as contractors.

Whatever lies ahead for the economy, there's hardly a safer way to face it than with a solid grounding in the trades. These six in-demand fields are among the most likely to keep growing no matter how the economic indicators swing in the years and decades ahead. You can get yourself ready to face whatever the economy has in store by learning a trade at Generation T, which offers courses in all these fields and more.


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