Politics

Manliness Is Next to Joblessness

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When will somebody think of the men?

Daily Markets' Mark Perry declares the Great Mancession in session, with help from a mesmerizing time-lapse chart tracking employment growth by job type since 2008.

All workers equal!

Click here to watch the real-time shrinking of majority male sectors in opposition to the growth of two majority female sectors—education and health care. Perry says this chart helps

tell the story of the Great Mancession of 2007-2010 and how men were disproportionately affected by the recessionary conditions that adversely impacted male-dominated industries (construction and manufacturing), while employment in female-dominated industries actually increased throughout the entire recession.  And according to the employment report yesterday, there is still a 2% male-female jobless rate gap of 10.6% for men and 8.6% for women, so the Great Mancession is not yet close to ending.  

Bottom Line: Maybe it's not such a good time to be man, now that men are on the wrong side of the jobless rate gap by 2%, the wrong side of the college degree gap (142 women graduated from college in 2010 for every 100 men) and now even the wrong side of the wage gap.

Calculated Risk breaks down unemployment by level of education—another win for the girls, given their  comparative edu-vantage:

Proof that maleducated elites sometimes work.

Note that employment for Americans with less than a high school diploma is not only scarcer in percentage terms but considerably more volatile. Until August's overall increase in unemployment, high school dropouts were gaining jobs back faster than any of the other groups.

Will yer gwon an' get a blinkin' job?

A few months ago, The Atlantic revived the traditional end-of-men story with an article titled "The End of Men." Moribund masculinity has been a favorite crisis dating back at least to Teddy Roosevelt's war on neuresthenia.

But every data set has noise. Take another look at that unemployment-by-sector chart and you'll see about what you'd expect to see following a vast debt-and-spending bubble, during which real estate was heavily leveraged to obtain loans that were then used to buy more stuff. So you see a big rationalization in construction because it's directly dependent on real estate demand; in financial services because of the unwinding of asset-backed securities; and in retail and manufacturing because, without all that fake real estate value to draw on, nobody can afford to buy anything. (And the gender breakdowns [pdf] in some of these fields—such as retail—are not as lopsided as the ones in construction and health care.) The job losses tell you less about gender than they do about the misallocation of resources that preceded the bust.

There may be a crisis in American manhood—though as the late Simon Monjack taught us all, a useless man can always find some dopey girl to take care of him—but the Great Mancession isn't proof of it. In fact the most disturbing thing in the job sector statistics is that health care jobs have been growing at such an insatiable rate. Are people sicker than they used to be?