Your state's economy may be expected to shrink in 2020 — here's how to prepare


Good news: Fears of a national recession in 2020 have largely subsided, as most experts are expecting the economy to continue to grow this year. For many Americans who were feeling panicked about a possible job loss, that's great news — and another good reason to stick to your financial strategy of building your savings and investing regularly.

The news isn't all good, though. A recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia predicts that, in nine states, the economy could go into a mild recession. That's the highest number of states at risk for economic contraction since 2009.

Those states are:

  • Delaware
  • Montana
  • Oklahoma
  • West Virginia
  • Pennsylvania
  • Vermont
  • New Jersey
  • Kentucky
  • Connecticut

The economies of the remaining 41 states are expected to continue to grow.

It's also important to remember that we're in something of a "golden age" for job-hunting, as low unemployment numbers have put pressure on employers to hire.

How do economic cycles work?

Video by Courtney Stith

Experts also say that it's important to keep in mind that you're always at some risk of career setbacks, not just when the economy hits a rough patch. "We're all very susceptible to losing our jobs tomorrow," says Hannah Morgan, a job search strategist at Career Sherpa.

For that reason, Morgan says, it's smart to be prepared.

How to prepare for the unexpected at work

Morgan says that now is the time to get yourself in order and prepare for a career or job change, whether it's expected or not, since the economy is strong and unemployment is low. First and foremost, she recommends that you consider where you're at workwise, and "take some time to think" about where you want to go next.

"Take a self-assessment," she says. "Are you connected? Marketable? Do you have the skills, do you know the people you need to know?" Ask yourself these questions, and generate your answers, and you'll have a good place to start.

How to recession-proof your finances

Video by Jason Armesto

Here are some other smart career moves you can make:

Build your network. Job referrals are the most common way that companies are filling jobs, so building your professional network may be the key to your next career move. Start networking — attend industry events, join professional associations, and get in touch with old colleagues who may be able to help you out in the future.

Learn some new skills. It's never a bad thing to have more than one marketable skill, especially when you're on the hunt for a new position. Take advantage of any training or education programs your employer offers or that they'll reimburse you for.

You can also shadow colleagues to pick up additional skills. Don't be afraid to talk to your manager to find specific areas to work on that could be helpful and maybe even lucrative. If you're in a data entry role, for instance, it would likely help you in the future to become proficient in software systems like Excel or CRMs like Salesforce.

Plan ahead. Consider your next move or two in advance, so that you won't be caught flat-footed or make a panicky choice you could regret if it turns out you need to make a switch. Would you freelance for a while, for example, or try contract work? Go back to an old employer or try a side hustle while you look for something new? Have even a general plan to guide you can help you feel more confident if or when you need to make a move.

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