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Running on Empty

We've just published the results of our newest Harris Interactive survey.  In this poll of 1106 working adults, our goal was to understand how the current state of the economy is impacting the average worker.  Not surprisingly, many of these respondents indicated that they were cutting back on discretionary expenditures such as eating out and taking vacations in order to cope with the current state of the economy.  Given falling real estate prices, rising food costs, and continuing recessionary pressures, what was surprising to us was how predominantly the price of fuel emerged as a significant economic factor in people's responses.

While fifty-nine percent of respondents indicated they were driving less overall, 68% of those who drive to and from work indicated that they weren't changing their commuting habits.  Eighty percent of respondents indicated that their employers were not offering any special assistance to help them cope with rising fuel prices.  I discussed this topic in some detail with Mark Larson in an article for Workforce Management last Friday, including what employers can do to help.

Another interesting result of this survey was that people were no more or less likely to be looking for a new job than they have been in surveys we've conducted over the last few years.  So, while people may be feeling the stress of coping with rising costs, they're not necessarily reacting by leaving to find a better job.  While this may be logical in a down economy, we likewise don't see an increase in people hunkering down with their current employer to ride out the storm.

Take the poll on our home page and let us know how you're managing through the current economy.

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