Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Obama's 'Man-Cession'

Much has been made of this fascinating Labor Department report, which USA Today put on its front page. It shows that women now hold almost half of all jobs in the US (49.83 percent, to be precise), up from 31.8 percent in 1964. One of the causes: men have been clobbered by the recent economic downturn, having lost three-quarters of the 6.4 million jobs wiped out since December 2007. Guy work like construction and manufacturing has been hard hit; meanwhile, the fastest growing sectors are health care, education and government, where women dominate new hires. These also happen to be the areas that are slated to get the biggest infusions of federal money under the president’s $787 billion fiscal stimulus plan.

It’s not a recession, it’s a man-cession! So far, though, most of the commentary has focused on whether this proves that America’s economy is now biased against men or whether it is still biased against women.

I don’t have a dog in that fight. The real story here is political.

If this trend doesn’t reverse, and reverse fast, it could be bad news for President Obama and his fellow Democrats. Women are already a strong Democratic constituency: the president carried 56 percent of the female vote in 2008, according to the New York Times exit poll, the best showing ever recorded for a Democrat. What really helped him win, however, was the return of men to the Democratic column. Obama edged Republican John McCain among men 49-48 percent, the first Democrat to win men since Bill Clinton did so with 41 percent of males in a three-way race. Only one Democrat since 1972 -- Jimmy Carter, with 50 percent in 1976 -- has polled better among men than Obama did last year.

But what happens to that support if men get the idea that Obama didn’t help get their jobs back? Carter’s male support dropped to 36 percent against Republican Ronald Reagan in 1980.

This is far from foreordained, but if I were one of Obama’s political advisers, I would be thinking about this.

By Charles Lane  | September 22, 2009; 2:51 PM ET
Categories:  Lane  | Tags:  Charles Lane  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obama the Formulaic
Next: Obama Addresses the World


Chuck you know BAM has only been president for a few months right? It's not his recession dude OK. Its fair to hold him to account on how he addresses the problem once he's in office but to claim on national media that he caused this is supremely irresponsible. I know its not your fault Americans are so well gullible but when 60% of the country thinks Sadam Hussien took down the towers we have to be careful no?

Posted by: bob29 | September 22, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

1535 COVERDALE 'Job' xxxviii. 39 His whelpes..lurkinge in their couches.

Posted by: edtroyhampton | September 22, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

"The president carried 56 percent of the female vote in 2008"

Right, they were in bed with Obama...


Posted by: Billw3 | September 22, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

As a woman of 51 years, I have 5 words:

Posted by: LeftyinNH | September 22, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I suppose most of the Armed Forces will be womwn now. ... Maybe G. Steinem can be COC?

Posted by: deepthroat21 | September 22, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

LeftyinNH ask:
"As a woman of 51 years, I have 5 words:

You sound a bit bitter, lady. What do you attribute this to?


Posted by: Billw3 | September 22, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Maybe G. Steinem will be the CiC of a female majority in the Armed Forces now. ... There's alway's a 'silver lining' much?

Posted by: deepthroat21 | September 22, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

It shows Obamas real sides, his stimulous package which claimed to be shovel ready, hinting at being construction and infrastructure bill, was actually a bill to pay off NOW. Teachers, social workers who were not losing jobs are getting the funding. Add to this his Fathers Day attacks on Fathers, it really shows how anti male Obama actually is.

Posted by: jjeffery | September 22, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Just another thing for the right wing American Taliban to get upset about. Those uppity women are taking our jobs! See what happens when you let them go to school...

Posted by: B2O2 | September 22, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

B202 said:
"Those uppity women are taking our jobs! See what happens when you let them go to school..."

These women are merciless, I tell you. Give them a few inches and they want a mile.


Posted by: Billw3 | September 22, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Believe it or not... this is NOT going to make it any easier for women and their job prospects in future. As jobs in construction and manufacturing declines further, Women will find increased competition for the remaining jobs from men both older and younger. There are certain jobs like teaching and nursing, administrative work that is predominantly done women. In future women are going to see increased competition for these jobs.

Posted by: TechGuy | September 22, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

This isn't Obama's "man-cession" but rather this is Bush's "man-cession". Obama inherited this mess and he is trying to turn it around.

Posted by: maritza1 | September 22, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

This isn't Obama's "man-cession" but rather this is Bush's "man-cession". Obama inherited this mess and he is trying to turn it around.

Posted by: maritza1 September 22, 2009

New headline posted by maritzal in 2011 -

This isn't Obama's (insert whatever here), but rather is Bush's (insert whatever here). Obama inherited this mess too and is trying to turn it around - even though its been 9 months, 15 months, 3 years and it really should now be on Obama's watch. But with bootlicking toadies like me and those in the MSM, nothing will ever be his fault.

Posted by: bandmom22 | September 22, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

This is a temporary anomaly. As you state, males have lost 75% of the 6.4M jobs lost to date. As new construction and manufacturing jobs are created over the next few years, these numbers will change.

Posted by: RobertaHigginbotham | September 23, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse

I completely agree with TechGuy: As a woman who has worked in the health field for 15 years I have seen a significant increase in male nurses, mental health professionals, etc. and can attest to a traditional bias in their favor in hiring practices. Male nurses are coveted, particularly in mental health and as usual they garner higher wages. I was a supervisor for several years in a mental health facility and after I moved to the case management department the male that replaced me as supervisor was offered $3.00 more per hour than I had, even though I was deemed the best supervisor (voted Employee of the Year) during my tenor. As the stigma of nursing being a "girlie" field wanes and the need for significant increases in health care personnel grows, men will be moving swiftly into the field, particularly in the higher wage earning RN and Nurse Practitioner Fields. Hmmm... maybe you should call it a "masculine-cession." LOL! That might explain the Values Voters break-out session, "The New Masculinity."

I'd add though that President Obama's goals of major increases of mass transit and green jobs will help pick up some of the slack for men in the manufacturing fields. Furthermore, as the stimulus package doles out contracts for weatherization of public buildings, the refurbishing of schools as well as infrastructure projects and broadband increases we will see an uptick of jobs in areas where males traditionally dominate. Additionally as he promotes and passes labor union friendly legislation he will continue to garner their support which should help him maintain the 49% male support that he got in 2008.

Posted by: TaneLewis | September 23, 2009 2:53 AM | Report abuse

The employment of more women than men is a matter of economics and history. Employers have always paid women less than men.

Posted by: gjsamuels1 | September 23, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

I find the ever-so-pleasing finger-pointing sound bite of “Who is responsible for the recession,” insulting to my intelligence. It is all too easy to blame GWB or BHO for the economy and hold the ridiculous thought that one or the other of them is individually responsible for the macro-economy. One guy! One guy did all this *%$#; I don’t think so. This mess took a willing Congress (both houses and all members), serial administrations funded by corporations, greedy financial institutions, lax regulatory agencies, and last but most importantly, a complacent and gleefully uninformed citizenry.

Spending more than you earn, using credit cards at McDonalds, buying two SUVs for a family of four (in addition to the sedan in the driveway), and, finally, thinking your house is a piggybank that will always be full of cash: these are the things that created and sustain this mess. Until individual citizens take personal responsibility for their actions and commit to being an informed participant in our democracy, this *%$# will continue. More people know who won American Idol than have actually read the text of HR:3200§1233.

Posted by: BillFer | September 23, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

President ACORN didn't have a mother.
He had a porn ho who fornicated outside her race. Have you seen her nude pictures?
It's a first for a POTUS mother. But then again, half black, half white definately don't make it right.

Posted by: charlietuna666 | September 23, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

That you are "thinking about this," Mr. Lane, explains why you are NOT one of the President's advisors.

Posted by: mikehike | September 23, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

"Guy work like construction and manufacturing has been hard hit"

"Guy work"?! I'm DEFINITLY no 'guy' and yet I've worked construction sites as a drywaller and trim installer. I've worked manufacturing in millwork and fenestration. I've carried roofing up ladders and build two-story entry units. And yet...I'm STILL not a guy.

Shame! SHAME on Mr. Lane for his sexist and offensive statement that construction and manufacturing is 'guy work'. Are men the majority of workers, sure. So? It isn't 'guy work', it's work for anyone able to do it.

and I note he didn't have the bad judgement to refer to 'health care, education and government, where women dominate new hires.." as 'women's work'. Probably because he knows that the fallacy of gender-dependant occupations.

Construction is not 'guys work' any more than teaching is 'womens work'. There is simply 'work'. Charles Lane should be embarrassed for himself.

Posted by: WilyArmadilla | September 24, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company