Fear Of Major Layoffs Drops To Lowest Level Since '08, Survey Finds

Fifteen percent of workers fear a large-scale purge at their company.

Portrait of smiling professionals and workers with business people in background
The financial crisis officially began with the collapse of Lehman Brothers in Sept., 2008. Five years later and the economy is down a net total of 240,000 jobs, at latest count, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That figure hardly qualifies as a wash; over the last half-decade the American economy "should have been adding [jobs], instead of trying to recoup the jobs that have been lost," as Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the liberal and non-profit Washington D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute, recently told AOL Jobs.

Yet if you ask America's workers things are finally looking up. According to a just released survey of employee confidence by the employment website Glassdoor, just fifteen percent of employees fear getting laid off in a major purge over the next six months. (See below for chart of results from the quarterly survey going back to 2008.) The rate for the third quarter of 2013 is the lowest figure since the fourth quarter of 2008, the first after the Lehman collapse. (According to Glassdoor, the survey respondents do not provide written feedback to explain their outlook.)

The confidence report was conducted online by Harris interactive. Confidence was tracked by four indicators: job security, business outlook, job market optimism/re-hire probability and salary expectations. A total of 2,044 workers took part in the survey.

Analysts at Glassdoor are welcoming the results as a major turning point. "We are finally seeing signs of stabilization within the job market," said Rusty Rueff, Glassdoor career expert, who formerly ran the human resource departments for Electronic Arts and PepsiCo.

Unreal expectations?
Workers' bullishness about the future of the labor market may not be grounded in reality. The survey found that the number of workers who said their employer have recently gone on a major hiring spree dropped to its lowest level since the second quarter of 2011. The figure from this most recent poll stood at 18 percent.

Another interesting nugget from the survey: men are 10 percent more likely to believe their company's business outlook will improve than women. (45 percent versus 35 percent.)

And as AOL Jobs has reported, there's in fact much reason to be glum about the future of layoffs. Employers are increasingly finding ways to purge workers without large-scale layoffs, opting instead for what's known as "stealth layoffs." Employers including Lockheed Martin, Northup Grunman and Pfizer have pursued such a strategy with their respective purges.

"It's bad publicity to have a layoff because the immediate reaction is that [the company] has financial issues," J.T. O'Donnell, a former human resources exec-turned-career coach told AOL Jobs. "Employers don't want that negativity out there."

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What world is whoever wrote this living in???

October 07 2013 at 10:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was naively misled into accepting an 8 year state durational/temporary secretarial job at a major state university and was just laid off in August due to budget constraints. Of course everyone received their pay increases 2 weeks later. What a joke. See where hard-work, loyalty, honesty, compassion and going the extra mile gets you now-a-days?...Nowhere. Just think about yourselves and do what's best for yourselves, because employers no longer care. They only see profits and numbers.

October 07 2013 at 7:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


October 07 2013 at 3:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Fear if layoff? That's a measurable statistic? So this is what the liberal media is going to roll out as proof the economy is "looking up"? Laughable. By the way, when there are millions out of work, the fear of layoff isn't a fear any longer, its a reality. Measure that.

October 07 2013 at 3:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Fear of lay off the lowest, Maybe it's because you have to be employed to be laid off.

October 07 2013 at 1:26 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Yea too late, I got laid off two weeks ago, after being at the job for 13 years.

October 07 2013 at 12:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yes, very good MORON!! The fear of the Titanic sinking is at an all time low too!!! IT ALLREADY SANK!!! WE LOST ALL THE JOBS TOO. . . STUPID FAWK!! The government is the only thing that is growing in America!!

October 07 2013 at 10:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is stupid! There is no fear of being laid off because they laid off everyone they could a few years ago. The system removed the people who were making decent money because they had worked 30 years in their business so they found ways to let those people go and hire new people at half the pay. Now, the only jobs available are part time jobs at min wage with no bennies. Who has a fear of being let go from THAT? This article is a farce. There's no fear because there's NOTHING to lose anymore.

October 07 2013 at 10:21 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

If you aren't working and have stopped looking for a job and the govt is now taking care of you, Then yeah. The bigger fear is getting hours cut. See how the lobs twist truth?

October 07 2013 at 7:11 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

You can't get laid off if you are not working. OBTW the private sector is doing just fine.

October 07 2013 at 6:17 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

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