Update on the “mancession”

Today we have another post about that topsy-turvy aspect of 21st century America:  women on top of men.   Hat tip on these articles to the Instapundit.

Also — you can now subscribe, receiving posts by email — see the box on the upper right.


  1. The current situation
  2. Government policy plays its part in making this worse
  3. The mancession is a feature, not a bug
  4. Previous posts about women on top of men in America
  5. Afterword

(1)  The current situation

Excerpt from “The Jobless Gender Gap – Unemployment for men is growing at a much faster pace than for women“, David Paul Kuhn, op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, 27 November 2009 — Excerpt:

The unemployment rate for men, 11.4%, based on seasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, outpaces the rate for women, 8.8%. We now have the largest jobless gender gap since tracking became possible in 1948. The gap reached its previous peak, 2.5 points, in 1967 and 1978. Today’s gap has exceeded that for three months. It’s endured at two points or above for an unprecedented length, eight months and counting.

As of the end of October, the U.S. had lost 7.3 million jobs in this Great Recession. Men account for 5.3 million of that loss. The shift is so dramatic that women now constitute 49.9% of the work force and will soon outnumber men.

So some have come to call this downturn the “he-cession.” And yet, for all its unprecedented scope and nature, the limited attention and passive response it has received are remarkable. Imagine the outcry if women amounted to roughly three in four lost jobs in this recession.

(2)  Government policy plays its part in making this worse

For details about the government policy measures exacerbating the gap between unemployment of men and women, see this excerpt from “No Country for Burly Men – How feminist groups skewed the Obama stimulus plan towards women’s jobs“, Christina Hoff Sommers, Weekly Standard, 29 June 2009:

Men are bearing the brunt of the current economic crisis because they predominate in manufacturing and construction, the hardest-hit sectors, which have lost more than 3 million jobs since December 2007. Women, by contrast, are a majority in recession-resistant fields such as education and health care, which gained 588,000 jobs during the same period. Rescuing hundreds of thousands of unemployed crane operators, welders, production line managers, and machine setters was never going to be easy. But the concerted opposition of several powerful women’s groups has made it all but impossible.

… There is great room for debate over the effectiveness of government stimulus programs, and over how much impact a focused “shovel-ready” spending program would have achieved by now. What is not debatable is that changes in the American economy and workforce are favoring service sectors where women are abundant and that the current severe contraction is centered on sectors where men, especially working-class men, predominate. That an emergency economic recovery program should be designed with gender in mind is itself remarkable. That, in current circumstances, it should be designed to “skew” employment further towards women is disturbing and ominous.

About the author: Christina Hoff Sommers is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. She is the author of The War Against Boys and editor of The Science on Women and Science, forthcoming from AEI press.

(3)  The mancession is a feature, not a bug

For evidence see this excerpt from “The Job Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan“, Christina Romer (chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisors) and Jared Bernstein (economic advisor to VP Biden), 9 January 2009:

E. Effects on Different Demographic Groups

It is possible to look more closely at the possible gender composition of jobs created by the recovery package by considering the industrial breakdown of job creation from Table 4. Data are readily available on the fraction of women in each industry. If we assume that jobs created in an industry will be allocated between men and women following the industry average, we can estimate the jobs likely to go to women by industry. The proportion female and this estimate of the likely jobs created for women in each industry are given in Table 5.

Summing across industries suggests that the total number of created jobs likely to go to women is roughly 42% of the jobs created by the package. Given that so far in the recession women have accounted for roughly 20% of the decline in payroll employment, this calculation could reflect that the stimulus package skews job creation somewhat toward women, possibly as a result of the investments in healthcare, education, and state fiscal relief.

(4)  Previous posts about women on top of men in America

  1. The Real Revolution in Military Affairs (it’s not what you think), 14 November 2005
  2. Women dominating the ranks of college graduates – What’s the effect on America?, 7 July 2009
  3. A better answer to “why women outperform men in college?”, 8 July 2009
  4. Women as soldiers – an update, 25 August 2009
  5. Yes, it is a “mancession”, with men losing more jobs than women. Just like all recessions., 5 October 2009
  6. Update: women on top of men, 27 October 2009

(5)  Afterword

Reference pages about other topics appear on the right side menu bar, including About the FM website page. 

Please share your comments by posting below. Per the FM site’s Comment Policy, please make them brief (250 word max), civil and relevant to this post. Or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

Reference pages about other topics appear on the right side menu bar, including About the FM website page.

5 thoughts on “Update on the “mancession””

  1. Hm, would those be in Education and Health, or Leisure and Hospitality? Or possibly, “Other” Services :P

  2. “How many of those jobs are poorly paid , part time ,unsocial hours , or involve dealing with vomit ?”

    Welcome to the ‘Services and Knowledge Economy’. To quote Frankie Zabotka from The Wire, season 2:

    “You know what the problem with this country is? We used to build things. Real things, like ships and bridges. Now we just stick our hands in each others’ pockets.”

    Re article 2:
    Interesting aside – the other day I was talking to a Muslim feminist, originally from Yemen and educated in Saudi Arabia. She said feminism in America was a false feminism, because it looked down on women’s traditional family roles and sought to erase that role from society’s framework. According to her, this gives women less, not more freedom, because where a Muslim woman may choose whether to be a homemaker or work, and society will support her choice, an American woman MUST work, and society will not support her role in the family. As if to prove her point, there wasn’t any stimulus to subsidize stay-at-home-mothers for their lost economic opportunity.

  3. Just as we trace our evolution , as we develop in the womb – cell , segmented thing ,vertebrate , mammal , human – so perhaps we experience the journey of civilisation as we age . As teenagers we should be allowed to group ,breed , fight , and do heavy work . At 30 + we might start to look for part time / day release secondary education , leading to clever jobs . At 60 + , we could progress to organising stuff , based on our treasure trove of practical experience .

  4. Re #3

    Sure, let’s subsidize stay-at-home moms. What this country needs are more millions of free-riders.

    Seriously, people make cost-benefit decisions all the time. Our decision for my wife to raise the kids at home was made fully accounting for the lost income. So was my decision to take a job that paid better but I liked less in order to underwrite her.

    It’s just a scam that some people (e.g., congressmen) think they need to get involved with these very personal and individual decisions. The latest is the gay lobby. Go ahead. Get married. Knock yourself out. Just stop telling me that I have to underwrite your spousal benefits.
    FM reply: An alternative viewpoint — the future belongs to those who show up. A sociobiologist might say that feminism is an evolutionary dead end, inevitably replaced by societies with less ideological purity but high higher fertility rates. Future generations might look back on our time and laught at societies that breed themselves to extinction, with the illusion of superiority.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: