Economic stress seems to be leading to more of an increase in employee assistance program services at large employers than at employers with fewer than 1,000 workers.

Workscape Inc., Marlborough, Mass., a human resources technology and services firm, has reported that finding in a summary of results from a survey of 787 U.S. human resources managers and chief executive officers.

About 47% of the survey participants were at employers with fewer than 1,000 employees, and about 28% were at employers with more than 5,000 employees.

Workscape looked at topics such as use of health account plans, cost-cutting efforts, employee communications and the effects of the weak economy on productivity and EAP use.

Although state and municipal governments have been announcing some of their first major layoffs in years, 41% of the survey participants from government employers told Workscape that the slump has had no effect on employee work habits, and only 18% said the slump has spurred employees to work harder or to be more productive.

In the private sector, just 29% of the participants at factories, 18% of the participants at health care organizations and 17% of the participants at financial services organizations said they see no effect on productivity.

About 34% of the participants at factories, 36% of the participants at health care organizations and 42% of the participants at financial services organizations see the economic causing an increase in productivity.

Workscape also found a big difference in how economic pressure has affected EAP use at survey participants’ organizations.

About 47% of the participants at employers with more than 5,000 employees said economic pressure is causing employees to make heavier use of EAP services.

Only 36% of the participants at employers with fewer than 1,000 employees said economic pressure has led to increased EAP use.

One survey participant told Workscape that the EAP is busier and less available to help employees than it was in the past.

Other participants told Workscape that employees’ family members also are making more use of EAP services, and that “financial planning” and “family and money issues” are hot topics.