The recession was hard on men, who saw construction and manufacturing jobs dry up, but the recovery is proving much kinder. In a rare turnabout, men are outpacing women in getting jobs as the economy struggles back to life — and they’re doing it partly by taking work in fields long dominated by women.
Men are accounting for a growing proportion of jobs in the private education and health-care industries — economic bright spots of the past two years. Simultaneously, women are losing teaching and other local government jobs at a disproportionately high rate as municipalities cut back, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center.
The trend is a partial reversal of the recession of 2007 to 2009, when men experienced a much higher rate of job loss than women, with steep losses in the male-dominated manufacturing and construction industries. It also defies the historical trend; women fared better in the job market than men in the aftermath of each of the past five recessions, according to the Pew study, which is based on Labor Department data.
Since the recent recession ended in 2009, men have added 768,000 jobs, while the number of jobs held by women has fallen by 218,000, according to the study.
These are hardly grand times for male workers, though. Unemployment remains a full percentage point higher among men than among women (the rates were about the same before the recession), and 56 percent of unemployed Americans in May were men.
But it is clear that men, having borne the brunt of the downturn, are looking outside their traditional fields to find work. For example, men held about 23 percent of health-care and education jobs before the recession but account for 39 percent of the jobs added in those fields since the summer of 2009.
The shift is apparent in programs that prepare people for the workforce.
At Joliet Junior College in Illinois, for example, the nursing program has had a 10 percent increase in male students over the past five years. During that same period, the number of men studying pharmacy technology rose 125 percent, and there are now 60 men in the radiology technology program, far more than in the past.
Read more at The Washington Post.