Q: Who is Recession-Proof These Days?

Recession Proof?
D.C.: Recession Proof?

A: Government Employees, of course:

In fact the number of federal workers is on the rise. That might seem strange to the 11 million people in the U.S. who are out of work – and the millions more who fear they soon will be. Shouldn’t Washington pare down too?

But it is unlikely that President Barack Obama will put any of the nearly 2 million federal civil servants out in the street in the middle of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. His proposed $800-plus billion economic aid plan, which includes heavy spending on public works, is expected to increase the ranks of federal workers, although mostly at the state and local level.   .   .Other older workers are seeking federal jobs, which come with job security, health and life insurance, a federal retirement program, paid vacations and leave and other benefits [emph added].

There are drawbacks to being a government employee (bureaucracy, cubicles, fluorescent lighting, etc), but living with economic insecurity is certainly not one of them. And in the heart of Federal employee-land, metropolitan D.C., you would be hard pressed to find visible signs of that impending near depression. You might very well become depressed, however,  as you maintain a holding pattern around a Best Buy parking lot in the DC area, waiting for people to load that oversized plasma screen TV or Rock Band box into their minivan and pull out so that you can park. And shop.

Hard Pressed to Find Parking at the Springfield, VA Best Buy
Hard Pressed to Find Parking at the Springfield, VA Best Buy

I bought an antique mahogany writing desk last year when we moved to D.C. from a retired State Department Foreign Service Officer. He and his wife, in their late sixties, were moving to Florida to escape the (not too bad, really) winters here. He told me that Washington is recession-proof, regardless of who sits in Congress or the White House. The building contractor helping to get the gentleman’s home sale-worthy (who was kind enough to assist me loading that desk into my trailer) heartily agreed.

So if you want to make decent money, with good benefits, and to be able to walk through life not really understanding (or caring about) what this recession talk is all about every 8 years or so, become a Federal employee. The FBI is in the midst of hiring over 3000 people right now, and so is the State Department. And hey, a good foreign media analyst can expect to pull in $50-100,000 over at the Central Intelligence Agency!

Of course, if you work in the banking or automotive industry, you may have become a federal employee of sorts in the past few months, whether you wanted to or not.  .  .

Post Script: Many former federal workers later move on to lucrative, rewarding employment in their private sector second acts, another one of those perquisites enjoyed by those working for Uncle Sam!

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One thought on “Q: Who is Recession-Proof These Days?

  1. Nice post- the stability also highlights why creating public service jobs has a stabilizing effect on the economy as a whole.

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