"The Gendered Division of Labor"
I think Kevin Drum is almost certainly right that the structural trend toward declining employment prospects for men is likely to continue even as the recession ends:
But I think his love of books has led him astray into the conclusion that “employers discovered that as long as their jobs didn’t require much in the way of physical strength — and fewer and fewer jobs did — women were a better employment bet than men.” That would imply that we’ve seen large shifts within sectors of the economy away from hiring men and toward hiring women. But what we’ve really seen is large shifts between sectors. Much less manufacturing employment for example:
The real estate boom generated a spike in (male-dominated) construction employment, but now that’s down. Where we’ve seen sustained job growth has been in the health and education sectors. These fields have long been predominantly female. What’s changing is that they’re coming to dominate the employment landscape.