They called it a "mancession" in 2009, when layoffs in male-dominated industries like construction and finance razed male employment and brought the gender mix in the American workforce almost even (if you consider 50.01% men and 49.99% women almost even).
But it seems a woman’s work is never done.
With the economy just starting to turn around, the trend is swinging the other way. We're seeing some female-dominated sectors facing layoffs, adding more women to the unemployment list. At the same time, those unemployed men are snapping up jobs. It's happening even in typically “girly” sectors like service and retail. For example, USA Today reports that, between November 2010 and November 2011, retailers added nearly 217,000 men to their work forces, and only 9,000 women.
An expert on working families tells USA Today it's a pendulum swing: Men were hit early in the recession, now women are feeling the pain. "Education and health care jobs are now getting cut, and those are the jobs that have traditionally employed females," says Stephanie Coontz, co-chairwoman of the Council on Contemporary Families, in USA Today.
The trend implies that when faced with the prospect of losing a job or losing unemployment benefits, men seem to be more willing to take non-traditional job titles. No surprise there: When jobs are scarce, any job is a good job, whether it fits your gender or not.
Are you seeing men, or women, taking up non-traditional work? Did you notice more dudes behind your department store counters this holiday?