Why Does the Economy Affect Certain...

Why Does the Economy Affect Certain Jobs in the Trades?

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

If a job is useful, you would think that it should always be important. People always need electrical work and plumbing in their homes and offices, for example, and experts in this area are always necessary. Working hard can help people in the trades to do well, but often people’s success in these areas can depend on demand and supply.

A strong economy usually means that people in the trades do well because people buy what the tradespeople make.  For example, when people have money to buy newer or larger houses, for example, they need people to build the houses and to do the electrical work. They need cabinet makers for the kitchens and bathrooms, and they need people to plant trees or bushes and other people to build patios and plant lawns. However, when the economy is doing badly, people have little money for anything new, and tradespeople may have less business. The housing market may turn into a seller’s market, or a buyer’s market. Simply put, if a person is in debt and has no money coming in, they won’t be able to get a mortgage to buy a house.

Other trades can also suffer when the economy is down. Hairstylists, for example, depend on people having extra money to spend on haircuts, colouring, and other things that they might otherwise do themselves at home.  Some of the more wealthy people might have enough money to spend on extras like manicures or expensive haircuts. However, most people might try to stretch out the time between visits, possibly going once every two months instead of once a month.

The world economy can also affect the trades through the stock market and international trade. For example, the price of oil depends on many factors, including the amount that each country produces. When the price drops, people working in the oil trades can lose their jobs and be unable to find work until the economy recovers. For example, the low production of oil in Alberta has caused many tradespeople to lose their jobs.

Despite the possible difficulties in hard economic times, entering into a trade can be a very good decision. People learn many valuable skills that they can use for other jobs, even ones that have little to do with the trades. Knowledge of the trades can also provide people with a bit of extra income if they start their own business.

People will always need the kinds of skills that workers learn through the trades, but they might not always be able to pay for expert help.  A downturn in one part of the economy could affect almost everything else, and it is important to be flexible.

If you train as an electrician, for example, you might want to work only on large projects, such as new office buildings. However, you might find that you need to work at a lot of small projects to earn enough money for yourself.

People often think that the trades are the most stable jobs available, but even they can be affected by the economy. The best thing to do is keep an eye on statistics and trade industry news. If you apply to a trades college, ask the school what the percentage of job placement is. You can also research your desired trade and see how it has progressed over the years in terms of stability and job security.


Belman, Dale. “The Construction Industry and the Economy.” http://www.tauc.org/press/index.cfm?fa=article&id=341.

Bowness, Suzanne. “Heading back into the work force? Try a trade.” http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/career-advice/why-trades-are-finally-getting-their-due/article15270645/

Sorenson, Chris and Aaron Hutchins. “How Canada’s economy went from boom to recession so fast.” http://www.macleans.ca/economy/economicanalysis/how-canadas-economy-went-from-boom-to-recession-so-fast/

Wells, Rachel. “So the economy is booming? Try telling that to traders on Station Street.” http://www.smh.com.au/small-business/trends/so-the-economy-is-booming-try-telling-that-to-traders-on-station-street-20120607-1zz5e.html.



Leave a comment!