The job market

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It's rough out there, but most of us can weather the storm as long as we keep getting a paycheck. With all this talk of the R-word though, economists predict that lots of workers are going to end up on the chopping block. Could your job be next?

How safe is my job?

If you are an investment banker, you already know the answer. If you work in most other fields, you're likely nervous but not panic-stricken. In the past year the U.S. economy has shed just over 550,000 jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but most of the layoffs have come in home building, the auto industry and financial services. Take those three industries out of the equation and our economy has created 90,000 jobs.

"Companies are continuing to add executive positions even as the market slows," says Mark Anderson, president of ExecuNet, a Norwalk, Conn. firm that tracks management hiring.

The recent financial turmoil could make the jobs outlook tougher, and not just for Wall Street types. If business lending stays choked off, hiring will suffer. In a deeper recession, some economists predict more than 1 million jobs will be lost in 2009.

Now is the time to make sure your emergency fund is in place. Three months of expenses is standard, but if you are in an at-risk industry, sock away enough for six months to a year.

At work, lower your chances of being the first out the door by making yourself valuable - and conspicuous. This may be the time to reconsider your flexible schedule. Demonstrate that you can find ways to bring in revenue and cut costs, don't be afraid to point out the good job you and your team are doing and, to be safe, step up your networking, both inside and outside your company.

They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
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