Employers are increasingly stressed about housing problems, based on calls to a major provider of employee assistance programs, sometimes known as EAPs.
ComPsych Corp., among the largest providers of such programs, says that in the first half of this year, for the first time it received more calls about housing woes than childcare needs. That’s a major shift that shows just how big of a problem the housing crisis continues to be, even for working Americans.
ComPsych said calls about moving rose by 14 percent in the first half of the year, as compared to the previous six months. The increase was driven largely by employees dealing with foreclosure or the need to find more affordable housing.
Housing was the No. 1 problem for employees with 10,250 calls, compared with 8,000 calls related to childcare needs, usually the top problem.
A slump in the housing market has been a major factor in the recession and weak economic recovery. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that housing starts grew by 10.5 percent in August from a month earlier, driven largely by increases in condominium and apartment construction. Still, the figures are very weak by historical standards.
Employees are facing other stresses related to the economy as well. ComPsych said it received 4,250 calls about caring for elderly relatives, with many seeking less expensive options. That was a 23 percent increase in that category.
Another 2,500 called the employee assistance lines with health-related questions, up 11 percent over the previous six months. Many were seeking lower-cost options for medical care.
ComPsych serves about 33 million individuals at 13,000 companies worldwide.