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11 Recession-Proof Side Hustles to Help You Make Money


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A recession may be on the way.

One tell-tale sign: The U.S. economy declined by an annualized rate of 1.4% in the first quarter of 2022, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

While unemployment is historically low and job growth is strong, gas prices are historically high and inflation is at 8.6% — the highest it’s been in 40 years. If that’s not enough, the stock market fell into a bear market recently after gradually declining throughout the year.

Amid all this doom and gloom, what’s a worker to do?

Start a side hustle. Having another job on the side started long before the pandemic and hasn’t waned. Many people find that a second, part-time job provides extra financial stability, especially in an unstable economy.

If a recession is on the way, a side hustle might be the buffer that helps get you through it. So what are your options?

11 Side Hustles to Get You Through a Recession

1. Grocery Store Worker

Restaurant business usually drops during a recession as more people cook at home to save money — and shop more at grocery stores.

People might have to trim their budgets a little, but the need for comfort foods and pantry essentials won’t go away.

So whether it’s stocking shelves, bagging groceries or providing customer service, there will almost always be a need for grocery store workers.

A grocery store shift can work well with a full-time job, too, since most stores have early morning, evening and night hours.

2. Grocery Store Delivery Person

Grocery delivery services have taken off since 2020, making life a little easier for consumers while providing more opportunities for side gig workers.

Third-party apps like InstaCart, Shipt and Boxed are extremely popular, as are grocery stores that have created their own delivery apps, such as Walmart and Kroger.

3. Bookkeeper

Death and taxes, right?

Recession or not, individuals and businesses have to pay taxes and track their finances.

While accountants work mostly full-time, bookkeepers might work either full- or part-time or even seasonally – making this a viable side hustle option.

Over the last several years, more bookkeepers have been offering their skills virtually as well.

4. Virtual Assistant

The need for virtual assistants isn’t going anywhere either. And during a recession, businesses are a little more picky when hiring support staff — making part-time, hourly virtual assistants an attractive option.

Not only that, companies save money when they use virtual assistants. Companies save 78% of their costs by hiring a virtual assistant instead of one that works on-site, according to one study.

5. Mobile Mechanic

The average new car price costs $5,000 more than last year, according to Kelly Blue Book. Used car prices are much higher as well.

This simply means car maintenance is incredibly important — and mechanic skills are even more valuable.

The convenience of a mobile mechanic is attractive to people who don’t want to spend hours waiting at a repair shop, juggling a drop off or having a car towed to a shop.

Other car-related businesses — such as mobile tire and windshield repair — should continue to grow as well. You could even start a mobile car detailing business as a side hustle, no special training required.

6. Handyman

Let’s face it. Stuff breaks, no matter what state the economy is in.

There’s a world of DIYers out there who love to fix things and take on new projects. Then there’s everyone else who just wants to call someone and let them do the fixing.

If you’re good at home maintenance or improvement, a part-time handyman job might not be a bad idea to earn some extra money, recession or not.

7. Senior Care Worker

Whether it’s in a care facility or at home, senior care providers look after the daily needs of aging citizens — everything from household chores to skilled nursing.

With 54 million seniors in the U.S. now, the senior care industry will only grow as the number of seniors is expected to nearly double in the next three decades, according to the federal Administration on Aging.

8. Child Care Worker

The need for child care doesn’t dissipate during a recession.

Even if workers are laid off, they may still pay for child care so they can spend time looking for a new job or building a business and avoid losing the child’s spot.

And with more companies offering child care as a workplace benefit, the need for child care workers only continues to grow.

9. Staffing Agency Temp

During a recession, when businesses are laying off more workers, they may turn to staffing agencies for temporary, less expensive replacements.

Side hustling with a staffing agency may be a decent place to find yourself during a recession.

10. Pet Caregiver

More than 90 million Americans own a pet. That’s about 70% of households — a number that has been growing gradually over the last ten years, according to an American Pet Products Association report.

The pet care industry is pretty doggone recession proof, even growing during the last two recessions: 29% in 2001 and 17% in 2008-2009, according to a Mauldin Economics analyst.

All that to say, America loves its pets. And recession or not, essential grooming, dog walking and pet sitting still happens.

11. Alcohol-Related Job

While restaurant jobs — including bartending — have declined in past recessions, Americans still find ways to enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail.

That makes any job that involves alcohol — whether it’s a liquor store clerk, wine store stocker or delivery driver — a much-needed position during a recession.

Robert Bruce is a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder. 

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