Relocating just part of job hunting these days

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The nation’s unemployed are increasingly willing to pull up stakes and relocate to find a job – which could reignite home sales in some areas of the country.

According to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, 18.2 percent of job seekers who found jobs in the second quarter moved for the position – an increase from 11.4 percent in the second quarter of 2008.

That’s the highest job-seeker relocation rate since the second quarter of 2006, when it also reached 18.2 percent.

“Job seekers had been extremely reluctant to relocate up until this most recent quarter,” said John Challenger, CEO of the firm. “The reluctance was almost certainly related to the inability to sell one’s current home without¬†incurring significant losses. There was also the fear that, with the job market so unstable, it was too risky to relocate for a job that might not last.”

But the job relocation rate this year pales in comparison to other recessions. In 1986, the relocation rate averaged 42 percent; in 1993, it was 35 percent during the year, with a record high of 49.2 percent during the second quarter.

Technology and diverse state economies are two reasons Challenger, Gray and Christmas gave for explanations why the relocation rate hasn’t grown more during this recession.

“Another factor that has contributed to the fall in relocation is the same Internet technology that makes out-of-town job seeking so easy also makes it easier for people to work from anywhere,” Challenger said. “Faster and cheaper internet connections, coupled with relatively low air-travel costs, made it possible for job seekers to gain out-of-town employment without actually moving out of town.”