Remember the recession (or, alternately: he-cession, or man-cession, or The Great American Economic Cockblock) when no one could shut up about how men were losing their jobs in droves and ladies were the only people gainfully employed? Well, banish those obnoxious neologisms from your vocabulary right this instant— employers are hiring again, and they're overwhelmingly hiring desperate men willing to lower themselves to work in traditional female occupations. Welcome to the he-covery.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011, 2/3 of new hires by American companies were men. A total of 1.6 million dudes joined the workforce compared to just 600,000 women, re-widening the gap between men and women in the workforce, which means that everyone lamenting the death of the American man can just go right on ahead and shut up.
In October 2009, women comprised 49.99% of the workforce, a breath of a hair of an itty bitty thread away from being half of Americans in the workforce. Part of this illusory equality was brought on by the gendered nature of the industries overwhelmingly affected by the recession in the first place. As the recession plodded along, the jobs in traditionally male industries like construction didn't return, and unemployment benefits started to run out. And we now appear to be moving away from gender parity once again; threatened with impending expiration of any form of aid or income, some men did the unthinkable— debase themselves enough to work women's jobs like- gasp!- retail. One Moody's analyst pointed out to the AP, "It's a testament to how difficult the job market is. Men are taking jobs you wouldn't think they would." (Yes, let's focus on how awful it is that men are taking these terrible jobs, not that these terrible jobs were supposed to be reserved for women in the first place, and everyone seemed A-OK with it then.)
Of course, it's not a competition; and no one is rooting for women to "win" and men to "lose." Ideally, every person who wanted a job and was able to perform the duties required of that job should be able to work and support themselves. But when most of the new jobs available are in retail, an industry that often offers its employees low wages and no benefits to speak of but an in-store discount, when there are still 4.5 unemployed job seekers for ever available job opening, we all lose, no matter who's working the cash register.