If we experienced a “man-cession” in 2007-2009, we may be experienced a “man-covery” in 2012. However, that’s not good news for women looking to find gainful employment — and it’s not good news for men, either, as the LA Times explained last night:
Since the recession ended in June 2009, men have landed 80% of the 2.6 million net jobs created, including 61% in the last year.
One reason: Male-dominated manufacturing, which experienced sharp layoffs during the recession, has rebounded in recent years, while government, where women hold the majority of jobs, has continued to be hit hard.
But there’s something else at work. Men are grabbing a bigger share of jobs in areas, such as retail sales, that typically have been the province of women, federal data show.
That’s not necessarily good news for women or men. So-called women’s work often pays less and offers skimpier benefits and less opportunity for advancement than the jobs men previously held.
Even those retail jobs will be hard to hold. With retail sales numbers falling, the men who took those jobs may be looking once again for employment soon if retailers expect that the downward trend will continue. That will put more men out on the job lines — again — as they were the most recently hired. It’s also just the percentages, as men now account for a slight majority (51%) of all retail jobs in the US, thanks to their gain of 440,000 retail jobs and the loss of almost 50,000 among women.
Jammie Wearing Fool joked in his post today that this should prompt a federal investigation into gender discrimination in Obamanomics, but that may not be so funny:
The gender gap has raised concerns about possible discrimination in hiring. If the trend persists, it could set back gains made by women in the workplace, experts said.
“It’s hard to know [whether] some employers place a priority on men going back to work,” said Joan Entmacher, vice president for Family Economic Security at the National Women’s Law Center. Of particular concern, she said: Opportunities for women in higher-paying fields such as manufacturing are shrinking.
We’re already seeing an increase in discrimination complaints, the Times reports — only it’s the men doing the complaining:
In fiscal 2011, more men than women filed complaints of unfair hiring based on gender with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It’s the first time that has happened in at least a decade, possibly reflecting the increased entry by men into women-dominated workplaces.
In other words, this isn’t a “man-covery” at all. It’s a continuation of the same stagnation we’ve seen for the last three years, at the elevated jobless levels locked in by Obama’s economic policies. This should give Mitt Romney a wide opening to talk about outcomes for women in the workplace over the last three years, and steal some of Obama’s gender-gap thunder.