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Monday, June 16, 2008

More on the Housing Bust and Labor Mobility

by Calculated Risk on 6/16/2008 04:09:00 PM

On Saturday I wrote about how the housing bust is impacting labor mobility. Here is some more ...

L.M. Sixel and Nancy Sarnoff have a terrific article today in the Houston Chronicle on how the housing bust is impacting the job market in Houston: Poor housing market takes many off the job market (hat tip slmortgagebroker)

Carole Hackett has some high-level management jobs to fill. But the vice president of human resources of The Methodist Hospital is having trouble because of the slumping real estate market.

Not in Houston, mind you. Hackett's problems are in Michigan, Illinois and Ohio.

That's because when Hackett identifies promising candidates for the vice president of quality and key nursing director positions, they can't move.
"My intuition is that the housing market crisis in the United States is greatly affecting labor mobility," said Barton Smith, director of the Institute for Regional Forecasting at the University of Houston.
As I noted on Saturday, from 2005 to 2006 (the most recent data), approximately 1.7 million owner-occupied households, moved to a different county or state in the United States. If approximately 1 in 8 households (the same proportion as with negative equity) will not accept a transfer now because of depressed home values that would be about 200,000 households per year that will be reluctant to accept job transfers.

One of the strengths of the U.S. labor market has been the flexibility associated with geographical mobility - households can move easily from one region to another for better employment. The housing bust will limit this flexibility.