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Robert Trigaux

Jobs in 2012: In modest rebound, why are more men getting jobs that women usually dominate?




Former North Ward Elementary School teacher Cheryl Bishop, center, is interviewed by Ozona Elementary third-grade teacher Valerie Krillies, left, and principal Kerry Apuzzo at a job fair for teachers who were displaced by school closures. From 2009, photo by Edmund D. Fountain, Tampa Bay Times.

Wake up and good morning. Where do women fit in the supposed hiring rebound, modest though it may be, in the 2012 jobs market? There is a flurry of stories out there suggesting the mancession which targeted men's jobs so aggressively in this recession is now favoring men in what little hiring is happening now. Witness this USA Today story that says men are claiming more than two-thirds of the private-sector jobs created as the economy recovers, "reversing a long-running trend that came within a whisker" of giving this country its first-ever majority-female workforce. 

Nearly 1.28 million men gained jobs in the 12 months that ended in November, compared with 600,000 women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Adds USA Today: "In a wrinkle that puzzles economists, one important driver of the trend is that hundreds of thousands of men are showing up in the once mostly female world of retailing."


The Institute for Women's Policy Research analyzed monthly payrolls from the Labor Department and found that men disproportionately lost jobs early in the recession, from April 2007 to February 2010. Women began losing jobs in April 2008 and have seen fewer jobs created during the recovery, says this Palm Beach Post story.


Other analysts point to economic timing as a factor. Education and health care jobs are now getting cut, and those are the jobs that have traditionally employed females. And here's an interesting insight from The Tennessean newspaper suggesting people seeking the safety of a recession-proof career have tightened the job market for nurses after years of shortages.


All of these job trends also mingle with this,  first reported here by the New York Times: "Workers are dropping out of the labor force in droves, and they are mostly women. In fact, many are young women. But they are not dropping out forever; instead, these young women seem to be postponing their working lives to get more education. There are now — for the first time in three decades — more young women in school than in the work force."


So what does this all mean? More men are getting jobs traditionally going to women in part because fewer women currently are competing for those positions. More women are opting out of the current job market because opportunities are poor or pay is too low. And, of course, the longer-term message is more women will be better educated and trained to lead in the coming years and decades as men forego college, higher degrees or more specialized training. Check out these charts.


For now, men, be glad there are more job opportunities of any kind out there to grab. But don't forget to upgrade those skills whenever possible.


-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, Tampa Bay Times




[Last modified: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 6:59am]


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