Settling for settling? Job seekers’ relocation reluctance breaks records

Moving for new jobs is at an all-time low.

job seekers relocating over time

Olivia Heller

For a nation full of aspiring movers and shakers, we sure don’t seem to be interested in a whole lotta moving.

Just take a look at the latest stay-tistics from business coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas’ recent quarterly survey:

  • In Q1, just 1.6% of US job seekers relocated for new jobs, the lowest level on record.

For reference, between 1986 and 1997, almost one in three job seekers (~29%) relocated for roles. As recently as Q4 of last year, 3.7% made a move. Throughout 2020, 5% did. Prior to the pandemic: 6.8%.

Why they’re going nowhere fast

Two words: Housing and WiFi. Rising interest rates have made relocating an unattractive option, and fewer companies are requiring employees to be in the office full time.

Heck, forget leaving town, it’s hard enough getting people to leave their couches:

  • For the first time since the pandemic started, average occupancy rates at city offices surpassed 50% in January… but have stayed put since.
  • Kastle Systems, which monitors office key fobs, found that less than half of workers across 10 of the largest US cities made it into the office in the week ending May 10.

BTW: Just one person working from home can have a downstream effect on a local economy, per WFH Research. In New York, local businesses are estimated to lose $4.6k annually per remote employee.

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