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7 Stable Jobs

Anthony Balderrama, writer

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As fashion fads come and go each decade, so do employment trends. Back in the late 1990s and very early 2000s, it seemed that all things Internet would be around forever. Employment for dot-com jobs seemed to be on an upward trajectory with no limit.

Then 2001 came and things changed.

Internet-related jobs weren't the first positions to take a hit, and they won't be the last. But through all of these ups and downs -- and it's fair to say that this economy is down -- some jobs fare better than others.

The idea of a stable job in this economy might sound impossible to you, but it's not. Looking at the Bureau of Labor Statistics' employment trends, certain industries are showing job growth or remaining flat, even during these tough times.

We looked at these industries and then drilled down to see what positions have been poised for job growth over recent years. Of course, geography plays a huge role in how available some of these jobs are, so your city might have taken a bigger hit in some industries than other places have. Still, this is a good place to start if you're looking for some jobs that are still gaining momentum.

Here are some of today's stable jobs and their average annual salary:

Civil engineers for the federal government
What they do: Design public goods (such as roads, bridges, airports) and monitor the progress of construction. They are involved from the concept to the execution of these structures.
Education requirements: At least a bachelor's degree in engineering; additional coursework or training a plus.
Earnings: $62,804

Computer software engineers for the federal government
What they do: Create computer software, which can range from the applications you use at work to the games you play at home. Computer software engineers are involved from the creation to the testing stages.
Education requirements: At least a bachelor's degree in computer science or software engineering; graduate work in mathematics and system design also beneficial.
Earnings: $75,850

Electrical engineers for the federal government
What they do: Work on and test the electrical equipment that you find in homes, office buildings, cars and airplanes, among other places. 
Education requirements: At least a bachelor's degree in engineering; additional course work or training a plus.
Earnings: $76,264

Managers for general merchandise stores
What they do: Oversee the daily operations of stores, which means they write schedules, ensure merchandise arrives and address customers' concerns.
Education requirements: No strict education requirements, but high school diploma and extensive experience are common requisites.
Earnings: $74,010

Marriage and family therapists
What they do: Work with families or married couples where one or more parties are experiencing an emotional or mental disorder.
Education requirements: Requirements differ by state, but a master's degree with relevant course work and a counseling license are standard for many therapists.
Earnings: $40,293

Personal and home care aides
What they do: Assist people who need care with daily tasks in their own home due to illness or disability. They perform housekeeping chores and help patients bathe or move around the house, depending on their needs.
Education requirements: Much training is on-site and there are opportunities for certification, but experience often is the biggest asset.
Earnings: $22,163

Sales associates for general merchandise stores
What they do: Assist customers with purchases and answer questions about products. Sales associates are often the first and only point of contact customers have when shopping at retail stores.
Education requirements: No minimum education requirements, but many employers have experience requirements.
Earnings: $21,923

Industry information based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Salary figures based on data from, powered by

Anthony Balderrama is a writer and blogger for and its job blog, The Work Buzz. He researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

Last Updated: 26/05/2009 - 4:59 PM

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