Industries most likely to see layoffs + how to save your job

(NerdWallet) – Layoffs in tech and media have gotten the most headlines lately. But together, these two high-profile industries account for only about 5% of U.S. employment, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Other industries are also shedding jobs, including automotive, manufacturing and financial services. Unemployment is expected to deepen as The Fed is slowing the economy in a continuing effort to tame inflation.

Which jobs are most at risk, and which are the safest? And what if you still have a job or are looking for one in the transition economy?

Jobs in 2023 most at risk

Outsource Accelerator, an offshore labor market, analyzed data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine the industries with the highest layoff rates in 2022 to calculate potential layoffs in 2023.

It probably won’t come as a surprise, but the arts, entertainment and recreation industry topped the list with the lowest job security and highest layoff rate last year: 2.98%. If that layoff trend continues this year, it would amount to an average of 69,400 job cuts — per month.

Construction jobs were the next most affected, with an average layoff rate of 1.8%, which equates to 139,200 workers losing their jobs each month.

Even one of the broadest areas of employment, professional and business services, had a layoff rate of 1.56%. It represents a huge range of office careers with 22.6 million employees, including accounting, advertising, computer services, engineering and more. A similar layoff trend in 2023 would represent a monthly average of 353,000 people who would lose their jobs.

Of course, there is a time investment disclaimer that “past performance does not guarantee future results”, and that applies here. Just because an industry had a certain layoff rate in one year doesn’t necessarily mean it will continue at that level the next year. But while U.S. unemployment remains incredibly low, layoffs are gaining momentum as employers — big and small — brace for a shrinking economy.

The safest jobs

The same analysis identified the industries that offer the most job security. They were:

  • The federal government, with a layoff rate of 0.22%. However, this would predict that an average of 7,000 employees would be laid off each month.
  • State and local education (0.3%; 33,600 layoffs per month).
  • Finance and insurance industry (0.4%; 35,100 layoffs per month).

Another blow to the financially vulnerable

First, higher prices put a strain on already meager savings. It is the scourge of inflation. Now, as economists plot ways to cool the business climate, low- to middle-income workers may worry about fewer paid hours or a complete loss of income.

And this followed a pandemic financial crisis that hit those who were the most financially vulnerable.

In 2021, a Brookings Institution study found that low-wage workers made up 43% of the pre-pandemic workforce. A year into the COVID-19 economy, those same low-wage workers represented more than half (52%) of people considered “displaced” — in other words, their jobs have yet to recover at the same pace as higher-wage jobs.

“Losing a job can be devastating for anyone, regardless of income level. But it can be especially turbulent for those already living paycheck to paycheck or without alternative sources of income,” the study said.

Here’s what you can do to give yourself greater immunity from being fired.

Protect and advance your career

No one is immune to being fired. But increasing your value—to yourself, your employer, and your future employer—can help reduce long-term career risk.

Here are some ideas.

Break away from the pack

It’s easy to fall in hard times. Negativity rules. You may find that water cooler conversations (or Zoom chats) quickly devolve into everything that’s wrong at work or in the world. Push yourself into positive territory.

While remaining compassionate, put the room in conquest mode. Highlight individual successes, even if they are minor. Talk about businesses that survived and thrived in difficult times. Inspire.

Expand your responsibilities

When a company wants to downsize, it often looks to cut underperforming or frontier employees. Do more. Take on tasks that you must do but may not be in your swimming lane. Volunteer for new projects or take on tasks when everyone else is giving up.

Consider training a side gig

Many people take side gigs when money is tight. They enjoy playing music in their car while doing so Door Dashingor wear PJs and Wicked Good loafers while making money online.

Make it a goal for one of your side gigs to be more training in a field with a quality career future. It may be a certificate related to your current job. Or maybe a Google Career Certificate which takes three to six months to complete and connects you with in-demand jobs. You can take a variety of college courses to improve skills such as marketing, finance, technology, graphic design, writing, public speaking, or another language.

Increase your value in the job market.

Either way, save money like never before

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, is one of the few financial industry leaders still at a major bank since before the 2008 financial crisis. He often talked about how the bank had built a “cash moat” to protect him in hard times.

“Our bank operates in a complex and sometimes volatile world,” he said in a letter to investors in 2017. “We must maintain a fortress of balance sheets if we are to continue to invest and support our customers through thick and thin.”

Maybe you want to build your own fortress of savings. Start with common sense ways to reduce your spending. Money in the bank gives you breathing room in bad times and good times. And, if worst comes to worst, know what to do with your money after being fired.

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