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5 Job Fields in Trouble in 2023

Plus one field with high job security and many older workers

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Nobody’s job is guaranteed, particularly in a slowing economy, but some fields provide less security than others. It’s not just roles in retail and hospitality that are vulnerable, although those two industries tend to get hit when consumer spending slows. Some other professions also have higher layoff rates in slower economic times. 

“[Job] sectors are impacted by the economic environment, but also different sectors have different fundamentals,” said Derek Gallimore, CEO of Outsource Accelerator. “It seems that employment is a trailing sector to feel the impact of the recessionary forces. I believe that as credit continues to tighten, and the impacts of higher interest rates hit the ‘real economy,’ then Main Street businesses will be hit hard, and ultimately unemployment will significantly rise. This is all likely to play out over 2023.”

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Outsource Accelerator analyzed 2022 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to identify the sectors that are among the least secure for workers in 2023, including these five:  

1. Arts, entertainment and recreation

If you work in performing arts, at museums, historical sites, casinos, concert halls or other entertainment venues, your job security can be perilous in a slowing economy. With less cash to spend, consumers tend to cut back on these types of outings. Outsource Accelerator found the arts, entertainment and recreation industry has the least job security, with an average layoff rate of 2.98 percent last year. That amounts to about 69,400 employees losing their jobs each month.

2. Construction

Coming in second, with an average layoff rate of 1.8 percent last year or 139,200 jobs per month, is the construction industry. It includes the construction of buildings, highways, utility systems, homes and additions. With mortgage rates rising and supply costs still elevated, it’s not surprising layoffs are common in the construction industry. It’s also an industry that tends to have a lot of churn.

“There are a lot of factors that can impact the retention of staff across different sectors. For example, the construction industry has been severely impacted by COVID (supply constraints), as well as rising interest rates,” said Gallimore. “However, separate to the economy, construction work is commonly associated with temporary and contract roles, and casual labor.”

Contract work opportunities and flexible hours are among the reasons some occupations in this field have many older workers. For example, roughly 41.7 percent of construction and building inspectors are age 55 and older, according to BLS data.

3. Professional and business services

In third place in terms of worst projected job security this year, professional and business services had an average layoff rate of 1.56 percent in 2022. It encompasses a wide variety of jobs including accounting, engineering, veterinary, advertising and computer services. While this area has the highest number of layoffs per month at 353,000, it ranks third because there are about 22.6 million workers in this industry.

4. Information

This industry, which includes professionals working in image and sound recording, digital and print publishing and telecommunications had an average layoff rate of 1.12 percent last year or 33,800 per month.

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5. Other services

Rounding out the top five is “other services.” This includes a wide variety of jobs such as equipment and machinery repair, dry cleaning and laundry, personal and pet care, grant writing, photo finishing and temporary parking services. The layoff rate for this group was 1.06 percent or 61,000 per month last year. 

Other fields that have high layoff rates include transportation, warehousing and utilities, nondurable goods manufacturing, mining and logging, accommodation and food services, and real estate and rental and leasing. 

Government jobs give you more security

​It’s not all bad news, especially for government and finance workers. Outsource Accelerator found jobs within the federal government tend to be more secure, with a layoff rate of just 0.22 percent. This is the equivalent of 7,000 employees, out of the 3.1 million total for this sector, being laid off every month. The lower rate is welcome news for some older workers. With an average age of 47.5, federal employees are older than the national average for all workers (41.7 years).

State and local education and finance and insurance industries also offer more job security than other professions.

“From an economic point of view, the government sector is far more resilient than private sector companies. Typically government budgets increase year on year, as their service scope expands,” said Gallimore.

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