By Katia Dmitrieva

“It’s supply and demand — you’ll have to pay men more if you want them,” said Heidi Hartmann, founder and president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in Washington and a professor at George Washington University. At the same time, “this might suggest that we’re beginning to see the kinds of labor shortages that employers are responding to by raising wages.”

Retail sales for men’s clothing totaled $765 million in November, up 5.4 percent from a year earlier and 32 percent from a post-recession low in December 2009, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Sales at stores geared toward women were bigger during the same month, at $3.3 billion, but down 0.6 percent from a year earlier and up an anemic 12 percent since the end of 2009. Women account for 73 percent of the 988,000 workers at clothing retailers, according to the Labor Department.

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