Recession Watch: Is Your Job Safe?

As the economy falters, learn what you can do to keep your job.

ByABC News
January 22, 2008, 3:51 PM

Jan. 23, 2008— -- With bad news coming out of Wall Street almost daily and the U.S. economy teetering toward a recession, should Americans also be worried about losing their jobs?

Not yet, but maybe soon, according to at least one job watcher.

"No question that if the economy goes into recession, or is already in it, unemployment and job security are going to get worse," said John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a consulting firm that provides outplacement services for executives and middle mangers. "The risk of layoffs will grow and the number of layoffs will grow."

"That means often you can get caught without a job through no fault of your own," Challenger said.

It still is too early to tell whether the economy is in a slowdown or a recession, but those afraid of losing their jobs got some bad news earlier this month when the government reported that hiring had come to a virtual standstill.

Each month throughout 2007, employers across the country added an average of 111,000 jobs. But in December that growth stopped abruptly, with the nation's businesses adding just 18,000 new jobs.

For all of 2007, the economy added 1.3 million new jobs -- a million fewer than were added in 2006 -- a marked slowdown.

The biggest job gains come in heath care, professional and business services and restaurants. Job losses were seen in construction, which has been hit hard by the subprime mess, manufacturing, mortgage brokers and retailers.

So what if you are in one of those industries or believe your job might be eliminated?

Cathy Paige, an executive at Manpower, the world's second-largest provider of temporary employees, said not to fret.

"I think there will always be opportunities for people who want them. If you're hardworking, if you're persistent, if you keep your skills current with today's marketplace you'll be fine," said Paige, vice president and general manager of Manpower's Northeast division. "The world is always looking for hardworking, good employees."