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US workers confident about jobs prospects, here’s why

FedEx workers sort packages at a FedEx global hub.
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FedEx workers sort packages at a FedEx global hub.

The U.S. job market is hot and American workers have taken notice.

Some 53 percent of American employees believe they would find a comparable job in the next six months if they were laid off, according to a survey by Glassdoor, a jobs and recruiting website.

"Today, employee confidence around the job market, job security and likelihood of a pay raise is among the highest it's been in the past seven years," Rusty Rueff, Glassdoor career and workplace expert, said in a statement. "In 2009 our country faced its worst recession in years and uncertainty made employment confidence weak."

The labor market has staged a turnaround since the Great Recession. The latest Labor Department data, released Friday, showed the U.S. economy added 215,000 jobs in March, above the 205,000 expected by economists surveyed by Reuters.

Several experts agree this optimism surrounding the job market is warranted.

"By most measures, the jobs market is still very, very strong," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James. He also said another indicator showing labor market strength is the weekly jobless claims report.

Last week, 276,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits, above the expected 265,000. However, applications for unemployment benefits have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with healthy labor market conditions, for 55 weeks, the longest stretch since 1973.

"The most telling statistic is the job openings number, which is at record highs," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's. Job openings rose to 5.5 million in January, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Zandi also said another sign of bullishness in the U.S. labor market is the "quits rate," which came in at 2 percent for January. "People are voluntarily quitting their job, so they must be feeling confident they'll be able to find another job," he said.

Nonetheless, Harry Holzer, a former chief economist of the Labor Department, said the optimism may not be warranted for everyone. "The data show that when people lose their jobs ... they don't bounce back so quickly."

This is because people often times receive training that's specific to their industry or their company, he said.

Also, the speed with which people bounce back from being laid off also depends on where people are in life. For example, a factory worker in his 50s will have a tougher time being laid off than someone in his 30s, said Holzer, who is now a public policy professor at Georgetown University.