What are workers worrying about besides war in the Persian Gulf?

Job security, according to a major study of executives by Jackson, Lewis, Schnitzler & Krupman, a large management law firms.

Workers' concerns are not hard to understand as the nation's rate of unemployment creeps up and as companies look for ways to cut costs.

Only two years ago, job security ranked seventh as a concern for workers, with only one in five respondents registering worry about it. By 1990, job security posted a 74 percent increase in concern, catapulting to No. 3 on the worry list behind benefits and wages.

Job security jitters are justified, the survey points out, because 21 percent of the companies participating in the survey are trimming their ranks. In 1989, only 14 percent were cutting back.

Executives said the the biggest worry of companies was substance abuse, and 64 percent said they had encountered a substance abuse problem at work in the past year.

Americans scouring for work are finding that some jobs seem impervious to recession -- the nation still needs its accountants, plumbers, nurses and bill collectors. Still, the openings are tough to find and the competition is fiercer than ever.

"If you were good before, you have to be excellent today. You have to be doubly trained to get the same job as you did a year ago. The employers want twice for the money," said Ron De Sure of Job Direction Inc., a nationwide employment firm based in Fairlawn, Ohio, a suburb of Akron.

Even a mild recession could cost the nation another 1 million jobs in coming months, many analysts predict, meaning even steeper competition for fewer jobs.

While the job losses have been broad based, some fields still have work, according to employment experts.

Nurses, accountants and computer programmers still are in demand, according to recent help-wanted ads from newspapers in Los Angeles, St. Louis, Phoenix and Washington. Dental assistants, legal secretaries and auto mechanics are also on the most-sought list.

A smattering of other jobs are commonly listed, too, from plumbers to custodians to civil engineers to truck drivers.

One area that has been in a recent boom -- largely because of the sour economy -- is the collection business.