Pages Navigation Menu

Energy Key Findings – July/August 2010

Living Green Recession Affecting Workers’ Views
Working Adults Hit by Recession Consumers Are Willing to Change Energy Habits
Businesses Using Social Media Networks for Hiring
Retirement On Hold for Older Workers

Living Green

Some nine in 10 Americans (90%) include some level of environmentally friendly habits into their daily lives, while fewer than one in 10 (9%) are now completely green.

Of those who live fully green lives, only 38% are doing so primarily to improve the environment. Other reasons include wanting to live a better quality of life (37%), doing good for their community (35%), wanting to make a difference (33%), and to set an example for others (32%).

Aspirational greens (68%) are more likely to believe eco-friendly claims in advertising, compared to only 58% of completely greens and 32% of those who are not green at all.

Working Adults Hit by Recession

The recession – which destroyed 20% of Americans’ wealth – has directly hit more than one-half of America’s working adults, pushing them into unemployment, pay cuts, reduced hours at work or part-time jobs, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Some 35% of working adults age 62 and older say they have postponed retirement. In addition, six in 10 between ages 50 and 61 say they may be forced to do the same. In the meantime, one-half of the survey respondents say they have made smaller payments towards their mortgages, credit card balances, car loans and other borrowing.

Four in 10 adults say they have taken money from their savings and retirement accounts to get by financially. Others have gotten help from friends and family. Almost one-quarter say they have borrowed money from someone. And one in 10 – including 24% of workers from 18 to 29 years old – reveal they moved back in with their parents to ride out the economic storm.

The recession may bring about some new lifestyle changes since nearly one-half of respondents say they plan to save more; nearly a third state they plan to spend less and 30% plan to borrow less.

Businesses Using Social Media Networks for Hiring

A June 2010 survey by Jobvite shows that online job boards and third-party search firms are now in less demand due to companies’ increasing use of social media to search for new employees.

Nearly three-quarters of companies surveyed are now using social networks for recruiting, and 58.1% said they had successfully hired a candidate found through a social network.

LinkedIn was used by almost 80% of companies recruiting through social media. Some 90% of companies who had hired through a social network reported that they found the candidate on LinkedIn. While Facebook and Twitter were used to recruit new hires by 55% and 45% of companies, respectively, they resulted in far fewer hires: 27.5% for Facebook and 14.2% for Twitter.

Recession Affecting Workers’ Views

A slight majority of workers (51%) say they would switch careers if given the opportunity. Generation Xers especially feel this way, with 56% wishing for a different profession. Two in 10 Generation Xers affected by the recession say they are thinking about going back to school.

Some 7% of workers say the recession has positively affected the management team at their workplace, down from 9% in 2009. One in 10 (10%) appreciate their boss more as a result of the recession, down from 16% in 2009.

Today, 39% of workers appreciate their job overall in light of the recession, down from 55% in 2009. This is reflected in the attitude that only 17% are willing to work harder to avoid layoffs (down from 20% in 2009) and only 19% are willing to work longer hours (down from 21%).

Retirement On Hold for Older Workers

The most common reason workers over age 60 are putting off retirement (72%) is because they can’t afford to stop working, according to CareerBuilder. Women (76%) are more likely than men (68%) to postpone retirement for financial reasons.

Other reasons include:

  • They enjoy their job and work environment and don’t want to leave (71%)
  • They need the health insurance and additional benefits provided by their employers (50%)
  • They fear being bored in retirement (24%)
  • They enjoy feeling needed at work (15%)

Consumers Are Willing to Change Energy Habits

Eight in 10 U.S. consumers (79%) say they’re ready to make short-term changes in their energy use habits to gain longer-term benefits, according to a national survey commissioned by GE. Some 72% of respondents believe that, if left unchanged, today’s energy sources and consumption habits could hurt the country’s economic growth. And 63% said they’re willing to work with their power companies to help bring about changes in consumption patterns. The majority of respondents (88%) are willing to use devices like smart meters if they could help better manage their energy use.

Of those surveyed, 70% said they would rather see their power companies spend money to make existing infrastructure more efficient than invest in new power-generating plants. It’s interesting to note that little has been invested in the US electrical grid system over the past 25 years, and most current generation stations were built in the 1960s or earlier using even older technology.

Respondents expressed support for smarter appliances, meters and smart-grid technology for the following reasons:

  • Desire to save money (95%)
  • Increased control over energy bills (90%)
  • Desire to make a difference for children or grandchildren (88%)
  • Help to reduce the number of power outages (86%)
  • Environmental concerns (85%)


  • About 70% of America’s clean energy systems and components (wind and solar power) are produced abroad, and the U.S. produces less than 10% of the global solar component market.
  • In the U.S., buildings account for 70% of all energy use. Energy efficiency experts estimate that green buildings can reduce energy consumption by 30% to 50%, on average.
  • Each American is responsible for 20 tons of CO2 emissions each year, versus just 8.4 tons per European.

Read all bullet points.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *