As the top chart above shows, since late 2006 male employment in the U.S. has been stagnant, while female employment has continued to grow. From April of last year through April 2008, men have lost 131,000 jobs while women have gained 781,000 jobs (see bottom chart).
What's going on?
According to this BusinessWeek article
, Men have the misfortune of being concentrated in the two sectors that are doing the worst: manufacturing (70% male) and construction (88% male). Women are concentrated in sectors that are still growing, such as education and health care (77% female).
The troubles for the American male worker, while exacerbated by the current slump, are hardly new. The manufacturing sector is in long-term decline, and construction goes through repeated booms and busts. Meanwhile women are graduating from college at higher rates than men. Some analysts even argue that men are less suited than women to the knowledge economy, which rewards supposedly female traits such as sensitivity, intuition, and a willingness to collaborate. "Men have tended to do better in the hierarchies, following orders and relying on positional power," says Andy Hines, a futurist at the Washington (D.C.) consulting firm Social Technologies, who previously worked for Kellogg and Dow Chemical.
Economists are debating whether the overall economy is in a recession. For men, the evidence is clear.