Michael Barone

And men have gained more jobs than women in health and education -- two sectors in which employment has grown during the past decade.

What I see beneath these data is something like this: a picture of men hustling to acquire new skills and learn how to do different jobs than they have in the past, while many women sit back and accept whatever the macroeconomy doles out.

A lot of men seem to have figured out that health and education, as Arnold Kling and Nick Schulz argue in the lead article in the latest edition of National Affairs, have become the "commanding heights" of the economy.

What we are seeing, I think, is that individuals, most of them men, have been responding to cues sent by the market economy and have been adjusting far more rapidly than centrally designed government programs ever could do.

It's analogous to what we've seen recently in the energy sector. While government has been huffing and puffing about "green jobs" and relying more on renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, the oil and gas industries have developed new techniques of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracking to vastly increase the commercially viable supply of oil and natural gas.

Unfortunately, the man-covery has not been proceeding fast enough to produce the kind of robust recovery that we've had after most past recessions. Friday's announcement that the economy last month gained only 18,000 jobs -- in a nation of about 311,720,000 people -- makes that clear.

But the man-covery gives reason to hope that if the dead weight of high government spending and overregulation can be removed, our economy can boom once again.


Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM