Most new jobs are going to men, about two-thirds of those in the private sector, including jobs in the retail sector normally associated with women, USA Today reports.
About 1.28 million men gained jobs in the 12 months ending November 2011, compared with 600,000 women, USA Today reports, citing Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Retailers have hired 216,900 men compared to about 9,000 women. Men, it seems, are getting out in search of work in greater numbers than women.
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"It's a testament to how difficult the job market is," says Moody's Analytics economist Ryan Sweet, noting that there are still 4.5 times more unemployed people than U.S. job openings.
"Men are taking jobs you wouldn't think they would."
Expiring unemployment benefits may be pushing men to new sectors.
"They decide, do you drop out of the labor force or take anything you can?" Sweet says.
Another explanation may be that men lost their jobs earlier, such as those in the construction sector, while women began losing their jobs later during the downturn.
"Education and health care jobs are now getting cut, and those are the jobs that have traditionally employed females," says Stephanie Coontz, co-chair of the Council on Contemporary Families, USA Today adds.
A recent Associated Press survey of economists indicates the jobs market will improve in 2012 although not by much.
The economists expect the country to create 177,000 jobs a month through Election Day 2012, up from an average 132,000 jobs a month for most of 2011, the AP survey finds.
However, shocks from abroad such as a hard landing in China or a European meltdown could send the jobs market plummeting again, experts say.
Plus the number is not big enough absorb new workers entering the job market as well as those who are returning to the market after being laid off.
"I just don't know if it’s going to be enough to bring the unemployment rate down," says Chad Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers, according to the Associated Press.
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