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Americans Most Often Move for Work

Sun Belt states top best locales for job seekers

A woman holding a moving box in front of a living room.

Americans who move are doing so for a job more than for any other reason, according to new research from job site Indeed.

Indeed's survey of 4,000 respondents showed that 45 percent of people who relocated within the past year did so for occupational reasons—either for long-term career prospects or for a job offer they couldn't resist. Personal reasons play a key role in the decision to move for many as well, selected by nearly a quarter of respondents (24 percent).

Sixty percent of those who moved for their careers cited a stronger job market as a driver, while 48 percent chose better opportunities for skill-building and 43 percent moved for increased compensation and benefits.

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Managing Employee Relocation]

"Our survey results show that employers can still attract candidates from outside of their local talent pool with the right offer, particularly one which candidates feel would be better for their long-term career prospects or to broaden their skills," said Daniel Culbertson, an Austin, Texas-based economist at Indeed's Hiring Lab. "Some areas of the U.S. are doing much better economically than others, and workers in less-well-off areas often need to relocate to find a better job match, which is apparent in our survey," he said.

Millennials (ages 18-34 for the purposes of this survey) were the generation most likely to cite long-term career prospects as their reason for moving, and they ranked second in relocating to take a job offer they couldn't resist. They were the generational group least likely to move for personal reasons.

Generation X (ages 35-49) were the generation most likely to relocate due to a job offer they couldn't resist, and Baby Boomers (ages 50-65) were the most likely to move for personal reasons. Baby Boomers were much less likely to move for an offer they couldn't resist or long-term career prospects.

Meanwhile, 36 percent of the survey's respondents considered moving for a new job but ultimately decided against it. For all generations, getting a better offer in their current location and personal reasons were most often cited for deciding against a move.

Sunny Climes Attract Opportunity, Growth

Another research report from Indeed shows that the most favorable labor markets are in the Sun Belt states of California, Florida and Texas. Three of the top 10 metropolitan areas on the list are in Florida (Miami, Orlando and Jacksonville) and the top 15 metro areas are in the South and West regions of the country.  

"The Sun Belt continues to be a region of high growth and opportunity as companies and workers alike have moved toward strong job markets," said Paul D'Arcy, senior vice president at Indeed. "We have seen a migration trend where people are moving away from cold places looking to live in warm climates, so it is no surprise that we are seeing companies providing more job opportunities in Sun Belt cities like Miami, Austin and San Diego."

Indeed came up with the list by calculating scores for the 50 U.S. metropolitan areas with the most job postings according to four categories:

  • Job market favorability, or the ratio of job postings versus job seeker interest.
  • Salary weighted for cost of living.
  • Work/life balance rankings.
  • Job security/advancement rankings.

According to Indeed data, the Miami metro area work/life balance and job security/advancement ratings by employees ranked highest, giving it the top ranking overall.

Miami and South Florida serve as U.S. headquarters for Latin American operations for hundreds of multinational corporations.

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