Layoff fears fading as economy improvesNews added by Benefits Pro on August 20, 2014

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Joined: September 07, 2011

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By Dan Cook

Ah, how soon we forget. Just a year ago, American workers were fretting about job security, with many convinced they could be laid off at any moment. A year later, for the most part, that collective concern has vanished.

So says a Gallup poll of American workers. Gallup asked adults with jobs if they were worried about being laid off in the near future. Last year, 29 percent said yes, they did have that concern. This year, the percentage fell to 19 percent.

“This marks a return of worker confidence to the upper end of the range Gallup saw in the years prior to the financial collapse in late 2008. Workers’ concerns about maintaining their current level of benefits and compensation have also eased, though they remain higher than pre-2008 levels,” Gallup said in a release.

“Now, for the first time since the financial collapse, the percentage of U.S. workers worried about being laid off has fallen by double digits, and drops in those worried about having wages or benefits reduced are nearly as large. While workers still are more likely to say they worry on several questions now than before the financial crisis, these figures are down considerably. For the first time in a long time, fewer U.S. workers are worried in some way about their job, meaning the job market could finally be turning in favor of the employee.”

Employees still worry about their benefits, with 34 percent indicating they suspected their employer-sponsored benefits would be reduced. But even that was down from 43 percent a year ago. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) said they were concerned about wage cuts, down from 31 percent a year ago.

The biggest fears around these security issues surfaced in the height of the recession, when 32 percent said they thought they might face imminent layoff, and 46 percent feared benefits cuts.

“Since 2009, Gallup has seen a heightened, persistent fear among U.S. workers about their job status, pay, and benefits, even as the economy slowly recovered -- pointing to a difficult job market. This year may tell a different story — one of a more confident workforce — as seen by the large drop in the proportion of U.S. workers saying they are worried about having their benefits and wages reduced and being laid off. The data still show, however, that worries about several key job-related issues remain higher than before the financial collapse,” Gallup said.

However, there’s one demographic group that still has layoff concerns: young adult workers.

Gallup found that 29 percent of young people surveyed feared being laid off. “Almost double the 15 percent of 35- to 54-year-olds and the 13 percent of workers aged 55 and older,” Gallup reported. “Moreover, young workers’ fear of being laid off has not decreased from last year.”

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