Not as many layoffs now, but the unemployed have to stick it out longer

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Monday, February 7, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) -- For those who have a job in this economy, they're less likely to lose that job now than at any point in at least 14 years.

But for the unemployed, finding a job remains a struggle even 20 months after the recession technically ended. And employers likely won't be stepping up hiring until they feel more confident about the economy.

That means people without jobs are staying unemployed for longer periods.

Of the 13.9 million Americans the government says were unemployed last month, about 1.8 million had been without work for almost two years. That's nearly double the number in January 2010.

But the recession's deep job cuts seem to have ended. The outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas says in January, companies announced plans to trim fewer than 39,000 jobs. That's 46 percent fewer than a year earlier and it's the lowest number since the firm began keeping track in 1993. And for all of 2010, planned layoffs hit a 13-year low.

The fading fear of layoffs is encouraging consumers to spend more. And eventually, spending will rise high enough that companies will need to hire more to keep up with the demand.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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