Wisconsin’s larger companies held onto their employees in 2013, putting the brakes on plant shutdowns and big layoffs, if the number of reports to the state is any indication.

Fifty-seven notices of impending business closings or staff cuts were sent to the state last year, significantly fewer than the 85 closing notices submitted in 2012 and about one-fourth as many as in 2009 — the peak year — when 241 were issued.

It is the lowest number in at least the past decade, according to a count by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

For the first two months of 2014, 20 closing or layoff notices have come in, exceeding last year’s pace. Eight of them signal the closing of retailer American TV and Appliances. But experts remain upbeat.

“My outlook for 2014 is as optimistic as I’ve been in five years,” said Dennis Winters, chief labor economist for the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

Read the complete story on the Wisconsin State Journal website.