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What Is a Mancession?

A mancession can occur when jobs that are traditionally held by males begin to experience economic difficulties.
During a mancession, male unemployment increases faster than female unemployment.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 August 2014
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A mancession is an economic phenomenon in which a disproportionate number of males are displaced by unemployment in a given nation. This type of event is more likely to occur during an economic recession, since companies will downsize operations in order to minimize losses during this period, or even go out of business due to the unfavorable economic conditions. When the majority of those companies undergoing a downsizing or closing down are part of a field that is generally considered male-dominated, a larger proportion of the male work force is displaced. Should those males be unable to secure work with new employers, the ratio of unemployment among men increases, creating the mancession.

The creation of a mancession begins when industries that are considered to be primarily composed of jobs that traditionally are performed by men begin to experience economic difficulties. For example, if manufacturing plants and construction companies cut back on operations or go out of business altogether, this means that a number of men employed in those settings will be out of work. For whatever amount of time that these men remain unemployed, the male unemployment rate grows faster than the unemployment rate among women.

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As with any type of economic recession in which unemployment increases, steps to pull an economy out of a mancession are important not only to the general economy, but also to individual households attempting to make ends meet in difficult economic times. Part of the reason for this is that even though women may enjoy a lower unemployment rate, they also tend to earn a lower wage per hour than their male counterparts. The reduction of household income generated by males can seriously impact the well-being of those households that once benefited from two incomes, but must now function on the one remaining and often lesser income.

While there are no simple solutions to reversing a mancession, several different strategies have been used in different situations to overcome the problem and get men back to work. One approach has to do with job retraining. Assuming there are industries that are not affected by the recession as much as others, it may be possible to provide training in those industries that would allow some of the displaced males to start new careers and begin to generate income once more. When this takes place, it not only helps to alleviate some of the financial distress of the individual households, but also aids in the gradual recovery of the economy in general.

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