Women poised to dominate U.S. work force: Will there be more househusbands?

The show "Househusbands of Hollywood" on the Fox Reality Channel features five men who stay at home while their mates bring home the bacon. Among the househusbands are a former Los Angeles Dodgers player raising two pre-teen girls, a former sitcom star who isn't actually married and has no children, and an actor/producer/ex-bank robber with a baby.

All the men came to their stay-at-home status in different ways -- one quit med school to pursue acting -- but they illustrate a broader trend happening in America. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women are expected for the first time to make up the majority of American workers by October or November. That's because men have been disproportionately hit by layoffs during the current recession.

Female workers held 49.83% of the 132 million jobs in the U.S. in June. Women have benefited from working in health care, education and government jobs, all sectors that are continuing to grow despite the economy. Those fields also tend to hire more women than men.

Meanwhile, male-dominated industries such as construction and manufacturing have been severely impacted by the economic downturn. According to the BLS, men have lost 3 million construction and manufacturing jobs since the recession began. Overall, 6.4 million jobs have been lost during the recession, and 74% of them were held by men. Men have also lost a lot of jobs (86,000) with local government agencies, while college-educated women (167,000) have gained positions.

Although women are expected to dominate the work force soon, time will tell if that will be the trend for the long term. As the economy recovers and more unemployed men begin to find jobs, it's pretty likely that males will again make up the majority of workers. But looking at industries that have been hit hard by layoffs, it seems only natural that many men will be forced to completely change careers. To do that, they may have to go back to school to learn new skills in order to compete. Others may choose the entrepreneurial route and avoid job hunting all together.

In some cases, however, men who have had to adjust to being the stay-at-home parent after a layoff, may settle into that role and continue on that path long after the recession ends because it just makes sense for their family. Some of Fox's househusbands obviously want to do more than keep house (one is actually a co-executive producer of the show), but they seem to have adapted to their circumstances for now. Of course it helps to be married to women who bring home fat paychecks.


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