If the "mancession" ever existed, it's safe to say it's over now. Men lost more than twice as many jobs as women during the economic crisis, but a full 88 percent of non-farm jobs created since the official end of the recession in June 2009 have gone to men, according to the Department of Labor. Given these numbers, it makes sense that the percentage of men saying the economy was improving jumped to 41 percent in March, compared with 26 percent of women. Things are looking up for men and stagnating for women: The unemployment rate was significantly higher for men than women as recently as last year (10.5 percent vs. 8.4 percent in February 2011), but as of February 2012 a little more than 8 percent of all both groups are unemployed.
Economists predicted this would happen back in 2009, when Congress passed the stimulus. Many of the industries that hemorrhaged jobs a few years ago are bouncing back, like in the traditionally male-dominated fields of manufacturing and construction. Women, on the other hand, make up a large number of public-sector employees, who have faced massive layoffs as state and local budgets continue to shrink. In particularly hard-hit sectors like education and health care, there are three times as many women as there are men.
This may be good news for Obama, whose approval ratings among men (especially old, white ones) are lagging. But when it comes to women's lives, these numbers are heartbreaking. For the 31 million women who head their household themselves, the wealth and income gap has never been larger. It's great that the private sector is making some progress, but Congress needs to stop bankrupting state governments in order to truly tackle unemployment.