DEFINITION of Mancession

When the financial crisis struck the U.S. in 2007, and a two-year recession ensued, 70 percent of the jobs lost were held by men; and the percentage of unemployed males doubled, according to Time magazine.

Coined by an economist from the University of Michigan, this period known as a "mancession" resulted in the biggest gap (2.5 percent) between unemployed men and women since World War II. That stands to reason, however, because more men worked in manufacturing and construction—two of the hardest hit industries during the recession, accounting for 2.5 million layoffs.

The fact that women at the time often worked in industries less affected by the economy such as hospitality, education, childcare and healthcare, also contributed to the widening gap. On top of that, reports that 60 percent of college degrees earned between 2007-2009 went to women and landed them white-collar jobs unlike the blue-collar variety held by many men.

Although some economists saw no end in sight to the new trend, men had gained more than 1 million jobs versus 149,000 for women by the end of 2010—a period often referred to as the "hecovery."


Analysts have tried to understand the mancession phenomenon, and have offered a few possible reasons. First, during the financial crisis of 2008-2009, the majority of jobs that were initially cut were in the male-dominated manufacturing and construction industries, leading to disproportionate levels of joblessness among males.

Also, at the time it was reported that women in the United States accounted for nearly 60% of the college degrees handed out during that period, meaning that a greater number of women were working white-collar jobs, especially in publicly-funded industries such as education and healthcare, which saw far fewer cutbacks than male-dominated industries.