It's Not Just a Recession. It's a Mancession!

What is a mancession, you ask? It's not this. It's a recession that hurts men much more than women, and we are allegedly in the worst mancession in recent history. Eighty percent of job losses in the last two years were among men, said AEI scholar Christina Hoff Summers, and it could get worse.

 

Here some graphs provided by Mark Perry, an economist from the University of Michigan who coined the term mancession that, with any luck, is not long for our world. Unfortunately this trend doesn't look to be reversing itself any time soon.

malefemaleunemployment.png

This following graph is particularly incredible, as it demonstrates that the difference between male and female unemployment is at a half-century high, with men taking a 2.5 percent lead. In the late 1970s and mid-1960s, it was women who were behind by that same margin. As Michael Mandel shows here, male unemployment in every age category is nearing a post-war record.
maleunemployment.pngPerry isn't alone pointing out the terrible toll this recession is taking on men. Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton's former pollster, notices a macrotrend that guys are falling behind in all sorts of factors these days, from alcoholism, to prison rates, earnings and life expectancy.

How do we explain this? The decline in manufacturing jobs is certainly one thing. Greg Mankiw adds another likely explanation: Residential construction, which boomed during the early part of this decade, has been eviscerated in the housing slump. Nine out of ten construction workers are male, and seven out of ten manufacturing workers are men. Those sectors alone have lost more than 2.5 million jobs.


On the other hand, many women are in industries that aren't facing such devastating, and possibly permanent, upheaval. I keep coming back to this graph about net jobs created in the last ten years in the health and education sectors:
healthedgov.pngAnd who works in the health and education sectors? According to the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor, the most prevalent occupations for women are:

  1. Secretaries and administrative assistants, 3,168,000
  2. Registered nurses, 2,548,000
  3. Elementary and middle school teachers, 2,403,000
  4. Cashiers, 2,287,000
  5. Retail salespersons, 1,783,000
  6. Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides, 1,675,000
Three of the top six occupations for women are in the rare sectors that have been growing over the last decade. The Great Mancession, as silly as it sounds, could be deeper, and more long lasting, than the Great Recession.
Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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