“Work It” and the “man-cession”

“Work It,” an ABC sitcom about two unemployed buddies (a car salesman and a mechanic), who dress in drag in order to land jobs as pharmaceutical sales reps, premiered on Tuesday night. According the the official ABC blurb, the main characters are victims of “the man-cession”…

“Work It” is a network TV comedy, so it would be unreasonable to expect the plot to be plausible, let alone realistic. However, the term “man-cession” has been bandied about in earnest, and “Work It” has the potential to keep it in circulation. So I’d like to set the record straight about the current relationship between gender and unemployment.

“Man-cession” refers to the first few years of the recession, in which men lost 2.5 times as many jobs as women. But in February of 2010, the trend reversed, yielding what’s been called the “he-covery“: Men have since picked up 2 million jobs, while women have lost another 164,000.

Today, the jobless rate for adult men is 8.3 percent, vs. 7.8 percent for adult women. In keeping with the he-covery, unemployment fell for adult men in November by .05 percent. The jobless rate for adult women, teenagers (23.7 percent), blacks (15.5 percent), and Hispanics (11.4 percent) stayed the same.

Read the full story in Ms. Magazine.

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