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10 ‘recession-proof’ jobs that will be in demand even during a potential economic downturn in 2023

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With soaring inflation, a floundering stock market and layoffs hitting several industries, the future of the job market is uncertain at best. 

"The worst is yet to come," the International Monetary Fund warned in its latest report, adding that for many people, 2023 "will feel like a recession." 

Working professionals across the U.S. are stressed about their job security: Roughly 31% of Americans say they're concerned their company is planning budget cuts or layoffs, according to a recent LinkedIn Workforce Confidence survey, which includes data from 21,000-plus professionals. 

Still, there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic about the job market heading into 2023. Job openings continue to outstrip the number of workers available to fill them, layoffs remain historically low and the latest unemployment rate is hovering at a healthy 3.7%, close to where it was at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

While no job is completely immune to economic headwinds, certain roles are posed to fare better than others during a potential economic downturn in 2023, according to a new report from Payscale.

Here are 10 of the most "recession-proof" occupations that offer strong job security during economic downturns, per Payscale's research: 

To determine the ranking, Payscale looked at salary data for more than 1.1 million U.S. workers on its website posted between October 2021 and October 2022, as well as the hiring and quit rates for dozens of occupations from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

These jobs can be considered "recession-proof" primarily because of their double-digit wage growth over the last 12 months, says Lexi Clarke, vice president of people at Payscale. Some positions are earning up to 30% more than last year. 

Companies are spending more to fill these roles due to labor scarcity and increased competition, Clarke says. She expects these jobs will "continue to be high-demand" even if a recession occurs in 2023.

The list includes a mix of essential service jobs and office roles still reeling from the aftermath of the pandemic, with waiter/waitress claiming the top spot. 

This is because restaurants are still struggling to regenerate their workforce, Clarke says. A lack of labor supply has driven up wages for servers. 

Other positions, including dock workers and emergency dispatchers, are also in high demand as it has been tougher to attract and retain people for these jobs, the report says. Yet the services they provide are essential even during a downturn. 

Even though these jobs might be as close to a sure thing as you can expect in a volatile market, if you're thinking of switching jobs soon, you should exercise extreme caution in your search, Peter C. Earle, an economist at the American Institute for Economic Research, warns. 

"Do not leave, or take, a job unless you're absolutely sure you have something secure waiting for you on the other side," he says. "This is not the time to shuffle jobs."

Check out:

The 4 most 'recession-proof' industries to work in, according to economists

The 3 most 'recession-proof' job candidates that are in demand even during a downturn, according to a recruiting expert

Nearly half of American workers are hoping for a promotion or raise in 2023

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How this 26-year-old earns and spends $25,000 a year just outside NYC
How this 26-year-old earns and spends $25,000 a year just outside NYC