Fewer American workers are packing up and hitting the road to seek out a better-paying job or new career opportunity.
Labor economists say the number of Americans moving for work is on the decline, NBC reports.
“Basically, movement for work has been cut in half,” Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, tells NBC.
In general, Americans’ moving rates have been on the decline for years, dipping to a record low 11.2 percent in 2016, according to U.S. Census data. Of those who moved last year, about 1 in 5 (20.2 percent) said it was for a job-related reason.
Labor economists say these are the primary reasons labor mobility is on the decline in the U.S.:
America’s workforce is getting older
In general, the older you get, the more difficult it can be to pack up and leave, especially if you own a house. “People who are above the age of 35 have more sunk costs, both personal — friends, family, a sense of community — and economic,” Carnevale tells NBC.
Economic woes are slowing movement
According to MoneyWatch, the economy has slowed down migration. “There is less dynamism in the economy,” chief economist Lawrence Yun of the National Association of Realtors, tells MoneyWatch. In many areas of the country, housing prices have failed to bounce back to pre-recession levels, which may also factor into Americans deciding to stay put.
Opportunities for remote work are rising
It’s also gotten easier for Americans to find a job they can do from home. According to NBC:
With remote work a growing part of companies’ benefits packages, and employers willing to contract with people in far-flung locations to save on everything from salaries to real estate costs, people can stay put and the work will come to them.
State economies have become more diversified
According to a 2015 paper by researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, “geographic specificity” of jobs nose-dived by one-third in the past 20 years. “Gone are the days when people moved West to farm or moved to Detroit to work on cars,” says Credit.com.
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