On the heels of the "man-cession" is the "he-covery," two neologisms similar in that they both pertain to men's economic prospects during the last few years and they're both irritating as hell. Despite the fact that for every three new jobs in 2011, two went to men, it now looks like women and men are back to being hired for jobs at roughly the same rate. So it's fair to assume that of the twelve currently available jobs, six will go to women.
During the recession, "the end of men" was written about like it was a fait accompli. The economy was shedding manufacturing and construction jobs like a spurned contestant on The Bachelor sheds tears all over her Jessica McClintock dress in the back of a limo. And it didn't look like those jobs were returning. Not even for a dramatic season finale.
Thankfully for the dude-employed (that's a word I just made up that means "unemployed." Spread it around!), 2011 rolled around and employers began hiring them again, but, as was pointed out last week, men were forced to lower themselves to take jobs traditionally held by women. Low paying retail jobs, for example. Women actually lost jobs during the first two years of the recovery, partly because after men were done getting fired, the men in charge of government decided that it was time to go ahead and cut back on funding for female-heavy jobs like teaching and nursing.
Good news, though! During the last three months of last year, women and men both added about 206,000 jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate is about the same now for both men and women. Yay! Everything's back to normal!
Except it's not really back to normal at all. Since the recovery began back in 2009, women have only added 43,000 jobs. Total. And the picture's even bleaker for female veterans, who just can't seem to catch a break. As of December, 50,000 women who served in either Iraq or Afghanistan were still unemployed. In fact, female veterans' employment prospects continue to grow crappier. As of the last quarter of last year, 16.8% of female veterans of the recent wars were unemployed, up from 9.8% during the first quarter. I guess we only support The Troops in theory, or when it's an election year, and politically advantageous.
It's great that workers are no longer languishing on their couches and filling their spare time recording heartbreaking testimonials for NPR's super depressing series on the unemployed, but it's hardly time for self-congratulations or sighs of relief. Theoretically, if every single woman who got a job wanted to attend a Philadelphia Phillies game at the same time, they could; the capacity of Citizens Bank Park just about perfectly matches the number of new ladyjobs that have been created in the last 2+ years. That's hardly something to cheer about.