Rethinking the Great Mancession

The past few years have been called a "he-cession" or "mancession" because of the economic downturn's disproportionate effect on men. Roughly 80 percent of jobs lost in the US since the recession began were held by men. The fact that the troubles that caused the collapse were brewed in belly of the male-dominated finance industry also gives the recession a masculine flavor. In fact, some have speculated that the massive job losses among men in the past few years, combined with the public backlash against Wall Street, will lead to the "death of macho": a shift in power from men to women and the rise of a new feminine undercurrent in decision making.

A report (pdf) released Tuesday by the California Budget Project focuses on "How the Other Half Fared" in California during the Great Mancession. Indeed, the CBP found that women have taken on more of a bread-winning role over the past few years, as men have been put out of work. There was a 77 percent increase in the number of two-parent families with children who depend solely on the mother's income. Moreover, women's wages went up 4.2 percent in California between 2006-2009, compared to an increase of 1.4 percent for men.

But for those mourning the death of macho, don't worry, the numbers are still on your side. Women may not have lost jobs at the same rate as men, but California's unemployment rate for women is still a lofty 10 percent (it's 12.3 for men), and women still average 89.1 cents for every dollar a man earns. Furthermore, CBP found that while the recession hit such male-dominated industries as construction and manufacturing first, women started to lose jobs en masse beginning in 2008, when teacher layoffs swelled. Moreover, while local governments are expected to continue cutting for the next couple of years, the CBP projects that construction and manufacturing will begin to recover, while female-heavy fields will falter--which means that while the he-session is finally coming to an end , the she-session may be just beginning.

We'd love to hear about how the recession has affected your family dynamic. Share your story in the comments section or contact us directly.