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Declining Migration wihin the US: The Role of the Labor Market

Author

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  • Raven Molloy
  • Christopher L. Smith
  • Abigail Wozniak

Abstract

Interstate migration has decreased steadily since the 1980s. We show that this trend is not related to demographic and socioeconomic factors, but that it appears to be connected to a concurrent secular decline in labor market transitions—i.e. the fraction of workers changing employer, industry or occupation. We explore a number of reasons for the dual trends in geographic and labor market transitions, including changes in the distribution of job opportunities across space, polarization in the labor market, concerns of dual-career households, and changes in the net benefit to changing employers. We find little empirical support for all but the last of these hypotheses. Specifically, using data from three cohorts of the National Longitudinal Surveys spanning the 1970s to the 2000s, we find that wage gains associated with employer transitions have fallen, while the returns to staying with the same employer have not changed. We favor the interpretation that, at least from the 1990s to the 2000s, the distribution of outside offers has shifted in a way that has made labor market transitions, and thus geographic transitions, less desirable to workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Raven Molloy & Christopher L. Smith & Abigail Wozniak, 2013. "Declining Migration wihin the US: The Role of the Labor Market," Working Papers 13-53, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:13-53
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    1. repec:dem:demres:v:37:y:2017:i:47 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:moneco:v:93:y:2018:i:c:p:89-109 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Brad J. Hershbein & Lisa B. Kahn, 2016. "Do Recessions Accelerate Routine-Biased Technological Change? Evidence from Vacancy Postings," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 16-254, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    4. Hirsch, Barry & Husain, Muhammad M. & Winters, John V., 2016. "The Puzzling Fixity of Multiple Job Holding across Regions and Labor Markets," IZA Discussion Papers 9631, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. repec:cen:wpaper:16-12 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Alfonso Arpaia & Aron Kiss & Balazs Palvolgyi & Alessandro Turrini, 2016. "Labour mobility and labour market adjustment in the EU," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-21, December.
    7. Bachmann, Rudiger & Cooper, Daniel, 2014. "The ins and arounds in the U.S. housing market," Working Papers 14-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    8. Hyatt, Henry R. & Spletzer, James R., 2016. "The shifting job tenure distribution," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 363-377.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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