A.P. reports job security is as strong as it's been in more than 8 years

Eau Claire, WI (WEAU) -- There is good news on the job front, as the risk of losing your job is getting smaller and smaller.

The Associated Press reports that fewer U.S. layoffs mean job security is as strong as it's been in more than 8 years.

As the U.S. economy has improved and employers are regaining confidence, companies are letting go of fewer workers. This means fewer applications for unemployment benefits.

Yesterday the government reported unemployment benefits are at their lowest level since February of 2006.

Brain Leary has been job searching for a year, but recently has seen an increase in job opportunities. Leary says, “I think the city is finally picking up."

When the economy sank into a recession at the end of 2007, employers cut into their staffs, then during the recovery only hired hesitantly.

Labor market economist, Scott Hodek, says that’s no longer so. Hodek says, "Given the trend that we've seen over the last few years, every year is going to be better than we've seen since 2008. We're seeing a continuation of the same slow growth trend that I think we've seen over the last few years."

Hodek says the economy appears to be picking up.

“We're seeing more hiring this year. Tourism in some of our northern counties definitely seems to be up. I think we're seeing more construction spending, and that in conjunction with housing prices being up, tells me that we're seeing movement in that market too. So, those are good signs,” Hodek says.

Hodek says employer’s regained confidence potentially has them more willing to raise wages in order to compete with other companies, and to keep existing employees.

He says, "A lot of businesses I think, realize that there is a cost to bringing in a new employee, then training them and losing them. I can say, just having looked at National Consumer Sentiment surveys, this is one of the first months where people have really been positive about their wage gains, and positive about the short term market and their financial situation. We haven't seen much of, even over the past few years.”

And recent job seekers like Clifford Shoemaker find the improving economy promising. He says, “There are more opportunities; I have been encouraged that the opportunities are growing."

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