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Going Where the Grass Is Greener

Only 7.3% of people looking for work in fourth-quarter '09 were willing to move even so far as another town to get a job.  That was the lowest quarterly relocation rate recorded since the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas began compiling this statistic at the beginning of 1986.  John A. Challenger said:  "Relocation is still a last resort for the overwhelming majority of job seekers....  When job seekers perceive their chances of finding work as poor regardless of the geographic area in which they look, they are likely to stay where they have an established support network."  Challenger thinks the relocation rate is unlikely to ever again reach the high levels of the Eighties; the annual average relocation rate for 1986 was 41.8%.

Sometimes the issues involved go far beyond a desire to remain near familiy and friends.  Blogs abound with stories such as:  "My wife's employer relocated ... the director of the finance department.  They promoted her to vice president, then they sold the company and she was among the first to be laid off.  She moved all the way from back east to the west coast only to lose her job.  Single mom too."  Real estate is also an issue, as in:  "We are still trying to unload our home on the other side of the country from 2 or 3 jobs ago.  Why would anybody in their right mind consider relocation just for a job?"

Persons who have just graduated from college tend to be more flexible.  As in this January 2010 posting:  "I'd relocate even for an okay job.  I graduated from college in May (2009), am still unemployed, and currently have $70 to my name at the moment.  There's nothing in particular tying me to where I am, so let's move."


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