According to a recent story in the Movers Search Group newsletter, Americans are moving less frequently. That is bad for their economy, and potentially sends warning signals to ours.
Their data, which originated from the US Census, states that only 10.1% of adults moved home in the year from August 2017 to August 2018. This is the lowest ever percentage since 1948!
Interestingly, the report found that this is not just the result of an ageing population but is also a consequence of the relative immobility of millennials. There has been a drop of 1.2 million in the number of millennials moving for work when compared to the census of the early 2000’s. Whilst the reasons for this drop are not clear, some people have suggested higher housing costs and increased bureaucracy (in the form of the requirement of a state certified ‘occupational licence’) are to blame.
Whatever the reason, this disturbing trend is considered bad for the overall economy, and in a country where unemployment figures remain low, the probability that many young people are taking jobs that don’t make best use of their skills. Just when the US needs a mobile workforce to be at its most dynamic, at the moment it is just getting more stagnant.
So why is this relevant for the UK? Well, just like trends in everything from music to food, our country has a tendency to follow where America leads. We also have some similar structural factors – fairly low unemployment but high housing costs, a rapidly ageing population, high education costs, and an increased tendency for millennials to live at home with family rather than move away for work. All of this may well add up to people moving home less frequently, which would certainly be bad for our economy.