Time appears to be running out on the "Man-cession."
That nickname was applied by some to the recent recession and economic turmoil that took a toll on traditionally male-dominated fields like manufacturing and construction. But from December 2010 to December 2011, nearly twice as many men as women have found employment, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
One area where the hiring of men is outpacing women is retail, a field often associated more with women and usually lower-paying than traditional male-dominated fields.
EVAN BEVINS The Marietta Times
Peebles assistant manager Dwayne Farley works Friday at the store. Farley has worked in retail for nearly 30 years.
Kathy Lott-Gramkow, director of employment and training for Washington-Morgan Community Action, said men seeking retail jobs is not uncommon locally.
"I know there are people taking those retail jobs to make ends meet," she said. "That's been something that's been happening in our area for a while."
But it wasn't always as common. Lott-Gramkow spent 10 years working for Hill's department store in Vienna, W.Va. and Marietta and said her co-workers were generally female.
By the numbers
1,277,000 - Increase in the number of men employed nationwide from December 2010 to December 2011.
643,000 - Increase in the number of women employed in the same period.
50.3 - Percentage of retail jobs occupied by women in December 2007.
49.7 - Percentage of retail jobs occupied by women in December 2010.
49.1 - Percentage of retail jobs occupied by women in December 2011.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
|Unemployment rates locally|
|County||November 2011*||November 2010|
|* most recent available|
|Source: Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.|
"If we did have (men), they were usually teenagers or college kids," she said.
Marietta resident Dwayne Farley joined Peebles department store in the Lafayette Square shopping center about a year ago, after losing his previous job when the Save-A-Lot in the same complex closed.
"I've been in retail for almost 30 years," said Farley, 48. "It was normally just a quick job that was always hiring. ... When you need a job, you look everywhere you can."
Farley said there's usually high turnover in retail jobs, so it can be a good answer when searching for work. And he enjoys what he does.
"It's an ever-changing job. There's always something to do, always customers to meet and greet," Farley said.
And just as Farley prefers working in what's sometimes thought of as a female-dominated field, one of his co-workers, Emily Stoke, wouldn't mind going back to a so-called "man's job."
Stoke, 29, of Waverly, W.Va., came to Peebles about four months ago, after a year working as a temp through Mancan. One of her jobs was in assembly at Hino Motors in Williamstown.
"There weren't very many women," she said. "I prefer factory. I liked that job. I would've never left Hino."
Stoke said the pay was higher and the hours more stable than working in retail.
Peebles manager Summer Mason said it's not unusual for men to apply to work at the store and some customers like having male workers assist them, especially when it comes to men's products.
"It breaks up the monotony, having a man in the store with all the women," she laughed.
Judging from the numbers, it looks like there could be more of that around the country.
For the private sector in general, nearly 1.3 million men were hired from December 2010 to December 2011, compared to 643,000 women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In that period, retailers hired 216,900 men compared to 9,000 women. That meant women went from making up 49.7 percent of the retail workforce to 49.1 percent. In 2007, they accounted for 50.3 percent.
Greg Delemeester, professor of economics at Marietta College, said he doesn't have enough information to say why more men are taking retail jobs. But the overall increase is tied to the fact that the manufacturing and construction areas bore the brunt of the job losses in recent years. Health care and other fields that draw more women tended to fare better.
"Even during the recession, health care has been adding jobs," Delemeester said.
Bucky Lee, owner of Food 4 Less in Marietta, said there has been an uptick in men looking for work at the grocery store.
"We've seen, just because of the scarcity of jobs, a lot more men than what we would've seen probably three or four years ago," he said.
But there haven't been a lot of new hires recently, Lee said, likely for the same reason.
"I think people that have a job really are appreciative of that job, knowing that there aren't really that many out there to go to," he said.
Some other local retailers have not seen an increase in male job-seekers.
Marietta Kmart manager Randy Hupp said most of the holiday workers they hired recently were women. And S.W.A.G.G. owner Catherine Bigley said she hasn't had men looking for work at the downtown Marietta shop recently - or ever. She doesn't have anything against hiring a man; it just hasn't come up.
"I don't think I've ever had a guy apply or ask if we were hiring," she said.