The Great Man-cession
The economist Mark Perry posted this chart today showing that unemployment among men has risen more quickly than unemployment among women in the current recession. As he notes, this matches the largest historical gender gap in unemployment in America's history. He's calling it a man-cession.So why are men having a harder time? Greg Mankiw thinks the reason has to do with "the sectoral mix of this particular downturn in economic activity, including a significant slump in residential construction." That makes sense. Construction is 88 percent male and manufacturing is 70 percent male. Both of those areas have taken a big hit.Contrast this data with the following point, made by Matthew Crawford in his widely-read New York Times Magazine article "The Case for Working with Your Hands":"...there are also systemic changes in the economy, arising from information technology, that have the surprising effect of making the manual trades-plumbing, electrical work, car repair-more attractive as careers. The Princeton economist Alan Blinder argues that the crucial distinction in the emerging labor market is not between those with more or less education, but between those whose services can be delivered over a wire and those who must do their work in person or on site."So will these repair- and maintenance-focused manual trades help fuel a man-covery? Or are we just facing a future with a lot fewer of the hands-on jobs that have been traditionally done by men?