Women Are Losing Retail Jobs to Men

Illustration for article titled Women Are Losing Retail Jobs to Men

Retail is dying and stores are closing but somehow life—and men?—find a way: according to the Washington Post, analysis of new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that even though the retail industry is shedding jobs like crazy, many of the new opportunities in that sector are going to men, not women.


According to the Institute For Women’s Policy Research, women lost 160,300 jobs in retail while 106,000 new jobs in the field went to men—that means that “women’s share of all retail trade jobs fell from 50.4 to 49.6 percent.” Great news for women, once again!

The reason for this decline isn’t clear, but economist Heidi Hartmann of the IWPR has a theory that checks out: due to some miracle, the jobless rate has dropped to the lowest its been in 17 years. As a result of this increase, Hartmann theorizes that spending also increased, especially on things like appliances and furniture—both items which are traditonally sold by men, in jobs that offer more security and higher commissions.

“There’s basically sex segregation within the retail industry,” Hartmann said. “Women have tried very hard to get into jobs like that.”

Other theories about this slightly depressing bit of news are that men are often employed in the shipping end of retail; another is that women are getting the hell out of whatever department stores are left and hightailing it for the higher-paying world of health care.

Though this might seem cause for screeching alarm, let’s all take a collective breath. Joseph Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM US LLP, an international consulting firm told the Washington Post that women are outpacing men in college enrollment, which ostensibly would put them on the management track after they graduate. I’ll take it!

Senior Writer, Jezebel


Battle of the Little Big Dipper

I know that this article is about sexism and discrimination, but the seemingly conflicting demise of retail along with the “miracle” of the lowest jobless rate in 17 years has been eating away at me for a while, now. How the hell is this working? This is starting to feel like climate change denial to me, in that we have an obvious thing happening (climate change, smaller retail sector), but certain people are using sketchy numbers to either directly or indirectly refute it.

I mean, as far as I know, no one is refuting that retail is dying, but on the other hand, no one has satisfactorily explained to me how a large segment of our economy could be shedding so many jobs, and yet we also have such low unemployment.