The Year of the “Mancession”
by Alexander Cain
With many television outlets focusing on the racial and ethnic impact of the recession, few people have insight on how the economic slowdown has affected American males. A recent Bank of America research report reveals that while all Americans are suffering through this recession, males are recovering significantly slower than their female counterparts. This “mancession” shows statistical evidence that females are seeing more job opportunities as the economy’s recover begins with last month’s male unemployment staying around 10.6 percent compared to women’s 8.9 percent unemployment rate. The reasons are related to the education and work differences between men and women.
There are several reasons why males are suffering more than women in this Great Recession. About half of the jobs that were lost during the recession were related to construction or manufacturing, industries both dominated by males. Compare that to the jobs which survived: retail and nursing, which are largely controlled by women. This causes many males to reevaluate their current careers and look for opportunities in industries once dominated by women.
While the industry differences explain why males were harder hit than women during this time, educational backgrounds give a glimpse as to why males are recovering slower. Companies today are pushing for higher education employees as everyone faces a tougher job market. This gives an advantage to women who are on average more likely to graduate college than their male counterparts. With a lower educational background and experience in hard-hit industries, males are facing an uphill battle for their recovery. This shift will continue to evolve gender roles in the future.
Careers traditionally defined by gender, such as nursing, are seeing spikes in male applicants as people continue to search for opportunities in whatever field they can. Women will continue to define themselves as breadwinners for many families as they see their income rise and more opportunities than their counterparts. Women will also be looked upon as the key triggers for the continued growth of the economy.
Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of the American economic activity. With women having more jobs than their male counterparts, they will be expected to continue the tradition of US consumer spending. This also means a continued emphasis on women from companies such as P&G and Target, who strive to provide the best consumer experience for their best consumers: women.
As we edge closer to 2011, the American workforce and overall cultural landscape faces many changes. The idea of gender defined jobs such as nursing and construction will disappear as both males and females look for any roles they can fill. Women will also have greater expectations with their increased workforce when it comes to the economy’s growth. With women having a larger workforce, they must increase their consumer spending to continue growth within the economy as they will be the main drivers as we pull out of this recession.