During this recession, 52 percent of Americans have suffered major economic loss, 35 percent have seen their personal investments halved, 27 percent have had pay or benefits cut and 14 percent have lost their jobs. And they are turning to the internet for help. More than 69 percent of Americans -- 88 percent of U.S. adult internet users -- have gone online for help. 18 percent of online adults search for recession-related material at least once a day. Pew’s new study, “Recession Dot Net,” released today, examines the role the internet is playing in recession.

While TV remains the primary source of information, the internet is catching up. Indeed, those with broadband connections are getting more of their info online than on TV or via print media.

While 38 percent of the general population cite the internet as their main source of recession-related information (versus 44 percent via TV and 45 via print), 52 percent of those with broadband get most of their information online, even if their TV and print usage trends with the national averages.

The main activity of what Pew terms “online economic users” is comparison shopping, as 67 percent of this demographic do so. Forty-one percent have looked online for a new job in the past year, 40 searched for coupons, and 27 percent used the internet for cost-cutting advice or to look for sources of further income.

As well, one-quarter have used the internet to improve their skill sets to qualify for better jobs, and 22 percent have researched unemployment benefits online.

While economists predict that the worst is over, many of us will continue to be affected by the recession for a long time to come, and will continue to search online for a first real glimpse of hope.

By Mark Alvarez