Today’s employment report was horrible, and digging into the job losses by sector one thing becomes very clear: irreplaceable skills matter most in a downturn.
It’s important to note that while 190,000 net jobs were lost in October, construction, manufacturing, hospitality, and retail lost 200,000 jobs alone.
In comparison, professional services, education, and health care actually gained 63,000 jobs. Note that these sectors generally require higher skill sets and are, importantly, harder to outsource.
Construction is unsurprisingly a bad place to be given we came off a housing bubble, while manufacturing is in a situation where cheap labour and machinery exists in abundance around the world and global logistics capabilities keep charging forward. Declines in retail and hospitality are unsurprisingly weak places to be given America is coming off a U.S. consumer bubble.
Thus whether one likes it or not, if you’re looking for a defensive niche, it’s likely to be somewhere in professional services, education, or health care. If you’re in an uncompetitive sector, it might be worthwhile loading up on alternative skills, even if you’re lucky enough to still be employed.