Most new hires don't need a moving van

Relocation among job seekers has fallen to its lowest level in 16 years, according to the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Only 14 percent of new hires relocated in the first quarter, according to Challenger's quarterly survey of 3,000 discharged managers and executives. Over the previous five years, the average relocation rate was 22 percent.

The firm cites two main reasons for the decline:

• The recession. A poor economy forced many companies to cut costs associated with recruiting and relocation. "Employers cut back on sending recruiters to distant college campuses as well as the costs of flying candidates in for interviews," says chief executive John A. Challenger. "Even when they found a desirable out-of-town candidate, they were less willing to cover his or her relocation expenses."

• Lingering effect of Sept. 11. Americans are less willing to move away from their social safety net since the terrorist attacks. "With an average of 171,000 job cuts announced in each of the last six months, even recent job winners are probably not feeling very secure," says Mr. Challenger. "The last place you want to be if you lose your job is a strange new city where you do not have a well-established network of friends and family to help you through ... job loss."

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