- The New York Times reports that fewer Americans are willing to relocate for new or better jobs in general, and it's a drag on the nation's economic recovery.
- The Times cites an upcoming report on economic "dynamism" that found a drop of 10-15% between 1980 and 2013 — some of it due to the lower level of worker turnover and the reluctance to risk a current job for new opportunities, among other factors.
- The analysis, done by Abigail Wozniak, an economist at the University of Notre Dame, working with economists at the Federal Reserve Board and the Brookings Institution, studied several factors — job shifts, movement in and out of the labor force, interstate migration, job creation and destruction, among others — in measuring what they label as "dynamism" or "fluidity," according to the Times. That statistical drop over 33 years is telling.
It obviously is a very complex issue, and one that should concern HR leaders and employers looking to keep their talent pipelines full. Betsey Stevenson, an economist at the University of Michigan and a former member of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, told the Times that one reason for the trend could be that people are basically happy in their current jobs, more so than in the past – though today's low engagement numbers might be a reason why that's not the case.
The other possibility, she says, is that people stay in jobs that aren’t necessarily better for them because change is scary. "And that’s bad for the overall economy," she says. It's not good for employers either.
The Times notes that people don't trust each other as much as they used to. When asked for their view of the statement "Most people can be trusted," the proportion of people who agree has declined over the three decades. The researchers discovered that states with larger declines in "social trust" also score lower in labor market fluidity. In other words, workers in those states are less prone to take a risk, relocate, take a promotion, etc.