Jul 28, 201102:11 PMBlog

Job relocation surges to nearly two-year high

Jul 28, 2011 - 02:11 PM
The percentage of unemployed managers and executives relocating for new positions jumped to its highest level in nearly two years, possibly signaling increased willingness by job seekers to take a loss on the sale of their home. Similarly, the increase may indicate willingness by employers to help the newly hired relocate.

During the first two quarters of 2011, an average of 9.4 percent of job seekers finding employment relocated for their new positions. That is up from an average relocation rate of 7.6 percent during the same period a year ago, according to the latest Challenger Job Market Index, a quarterly survey by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. The percentage of job seekers relocating plunged in the wake of the housing market collapse.  Beginning with the fourth quarter of 2009 through the end of 2010, the quarterly relocation rate averaged just 7.5 percent. In fact, the 7.5 percent rate averaged in 2010 was the lowest annual average since the firm began tracking job-seeker relocation in 1986.

"The 9.4 percent relocation rate in the first half of 2011 is still low by historical standards, but the increase does indicate that job seekers are finally beginning to loosen the stakes that have kept them tethered to a specific region," said John A. Challenger, CEO of CG&C.

Prior to the recession, job seekers were significantly more open to relocation. From the first quarter of 2005 through the third quarter of 2007, just before the recession began, an average of 16.1 percent of those finding employment each quarter relocated for the new positions.

Relocation began to sink along with the economy in the last quarter of 2007. From the fourth quarter of 2007 through the end of 2008, the average relocation rate dropped to 11.5 percent. It rebounded to an average of 15.3 percent over the first three quarters of 2009, only to fall off a cliff at the end of 2009 through 2010, when the housing market continued to weaken, even as other segments of the economy began to slowly improve.
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