Growing Reluctance to Move: Job Relocations Down

Despite a tight labor market with numerous openings, there's a growing reluctance to move.

The Wall Street Journal reports Fewer Americans Uproot Themselves for New Jobs.

Fewer Americans are moving around the country to pursue new work opportunities, as a tighter labor market and changing family ties make people less willing to uproot their lives for a job.

About 3.5 million Americans relocated for a new job last year, according to census data, a 10% drop from 3.8 million in 2015. The numbers have fluctuated between 2.8 million and 4.5 million since the government started tracking job-related relocations in 1999but have been trending lower overall, even as the U.S. population grew by nearly 20% over that stretch.

The share of job seekers relocating for new employment has fallen dramatically since the late 1980s, when more than a third moved to take new opportunities elsewhere, according to surveys from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. In the 1990s, job-related moves ebbed and flowed between 20% and 35%, then fell below 20% after 2000. Roughly 10% of job seekers relocated for new opportunities in the first half of this year, Challenger said.

Not on the Move

Why?

  • Cost of housing or rent in relocated areas
  • Local work is available
  • Need for kids to stay close to their aging parents
  • Kids living at home have no-cost lodging
  • Skimpy relocation packages
  • Concerns about how long the next gig will last

Add it all up and it simply is not worth the disruption.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (25)
View Older Messages
Six000mileyear
Six000mileyear

From excuses I've been given and excuses I've heard around the office, employers have rejected candidates because: 1.) Not local, and would try finding a better paying job in the closest major city. 2.) had no intention of hiring anyone, the job was posted so they could claim no available talent and bring in H1B visa worker or comply with rules about posting a position even though an internal candidate had been selected. 3.) big companies view a history of contracting as a liability for permanent positions. It's a hypocrisy that amounts to a double standard of loyalty, or they want people with little self-esteem who won't reveal the management team doesn't really know what it's doing. 4.) big companies have a quota of race/color/creed/gender to meet even though the selected candidate would not be as cost effective a someone who really knew how to do the job. 5.) big companies discriminate by age, so its not worth trying to make a move to another company.

Realist
Realist

Where I live (not the US) there are many jobs sitting empty, due to a lack of skilled workers. No one posts a job, unless they intend to hire someone. People do relocate, but mostly, people commute long distances to work, rather than relocate. In many cases, couples live in one city, and travel to their jobs in neighbouring cities. I know many people who have changed jobs frequently in the last 10 years, without relocating. At this point in time I see help wanted signs posted everywhere. Roadside signs that normally advertise what is on sale, now display the types of skilled employees they are looking to hire. This shows how desperate businesses are to find skilled workers, as the normal channels for finding workers arent working.

JonSellers
JonSellers

Just saying that there are plenty of jobs available doesn't say anything about the quality of those jobs. Nobody is going to move for a job stacking inventory at Lowes. And nobody is going to move to San Francisco and pay $4000/month rent for a $75,000/year job. This isn't the America of the great industrialists anymore.

KidHorn
KidHorn

I recently filled 3 IT jobs. 1 was a replacement hire. Everyone I hired lived nearby and were US citizens. They were all looking for a job closer to home. I think 2 of them were over 50. Almost all the younger people I interviewed had attitude issues. They wanted to dictate what they worked on. I wished them good luck with that and ended the interview on the spot.

Realist
Realist

In response to JoJo and KidHorn; it has been my experience that most employers prefer younger workers, even if they have less experience and are less likely to be loyal to the job. When I talk to employers, I often try to explain that older workers are often looking for their last job, and are unlikely to leave because it is so difficult for them to find work again. They will often be the most loyal employees and the best workers. Younger workers are often looking for a stepping stone to a better job and are less likely to stay. This is not to criticize young workers. They have simply grown up in a different world than their parents. Some of the employers I talk with have finally figured this out and are beginning to hire older workers. I find it humorous when they tell me that the older workers are actually working out better than they expected!

dthatcher
dthatcher

The problem is that when you move to high cost of living areas, they think they don't have to pay you so much because you are used to earning less. When you move to low cost of living areas, they lowball you because "it's cheap here" (but not really). Specifically in one instance, I noted a particular notable midwest city with "low cost of living" but once you get past the sticker price of housing and gas and groceries, you realize you are going to get soaked on state income tax and healthcare. Their flattened tax structure will increase our state bill by thousands. Relatives in the area talk about spending a few hundred dollars here and there out of pocket for medical visits and drugs under their PPOs while we spend $10-25 per visit and nothing for meds while paying the same or lower premiums then they do!!! And it isn't just because I have good insurance, I've had insurance like this at every job where I live. On top of that you'll pay more for energy even though the per unit cost is lower because you'll require more heating and cooling... after thoroughly looking into the matter I have new appreciation for why people we know seem to struggle to get by there.