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Megan McArdle

Some Blue-Collar Workers Probably Shouldn't Do Pink Jobs

It's not just an identity issue. The men shed from the manufacturing sector might make terrible home health aides.
They may or may not have good bedside manner.

They may or may not have good bedside manner.

Source: Fox Photos/Getty Images

Why can’t a woman be more like a man? Henry Higgins demands to know in "My Fair Lady." These days, labor economists are asking the opposite question: Why can't a man be more like a woman?

The decline of traditionally male blue-collar work like manufacturing has left many men adrift. There are growth industries, such as health care, where some of these men could get work. But they don’t seem to be taking advantages of the splendid opportunities to become home health care aides or day care workers. In part that’s because many of these jobs don't start out paying as well as the manufacturing jobs these men have lost or had hoped to gain. But in part it seems to be because the work isn't … well … manly enough.