Far more men were laid off during the recession than women, leading some to proclaim a profound shift in the workforce. But men are making a comeback
Men lost twice as many jobs as women during the Great Recession, making women the majority of the American workforce for the first time. Some said the "man-cession" had revealed the future of the workforce, arguing that women would play a more dominant role as the manufacturing and construction sectors shrank. However, the economic recovery has been just as imbalanced, with men gaining jobs at triple the rate of women. Are we back to where we started, or do trends still favor women in the economy of the future?
Women are poised to take over the economy: "American women are well-placed to gain over men in the workforce," says Derek Thompson at The Atlantic. Women earned three of every five higher-ed degrees in the past decade, suggesting they will be a more attractive demographic for employers. Women also dominate "fastest growing" job sectors, especially health care. The rise of women in the American workforce is a "triumph of economics and development in the advanced world," and soon male workers will be encouraged to "be more like women."
"The spectacular triumph of working women around the world"
Nonsense. Women still face discrimination: Declaring "that women have 'won' the new economy is premature at best," says Bryce Covert at The Nation. The jobs women are taking over in fast-growing sectors such as retail and health care "pay poorly, offer few benefits, come with grudging work, and provide little opportunity for advancement." And the wage gap remains "one of the most blatant and persistent inequalities women face in the workplace." Women have "made great strides, but full economic and workplace equality with men remains out of reach."
"One mancession later, are women really victors in the new economy?'
And men are encroaching on female-heavy industries. The construction and manufacturing industries were the hardest hit in the recession, says Danel Bukszpan at USA Today. But men are now "branching out into sectors that are considered by some to be less he-manly," including retail. Women will have to watch their backs.
"The man-cession and the he-covery"
Other stories from this topic:
- Opinion Brief: 2010: Recession or recovery?
- The List: The economy: 6 reasons to be cheerful
- Opinion Brief: How believable is the economic recovery?