Local movers suffer as people stay put

April 22, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
There is another effect the down economy is having on the country -- people are staying put. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people relocating has dropped dramatically. It's a change that is affecting local businesses.

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According to the Census Bureau, fewer Americans are moving. In 2008, 35.2 million people moved. That is a nearly 10 percent drop from the year before. In fact, the last time so few Americans relocated was in 1962. Demographers say the decline is directly related to the down economy, which hit California hard.

"They can't afford to live in California," says Wayne Allen of ASAP Relocations.

Movers at ASAP Relocations in San Jose are struggling because of the lack of movement. The company has even lowered prices to lure in customers, but it keeps losing money.

"It's probably about 25 percent down for us. I can't speak for the other people, and mostly people are moving out of California to Nevada, and Texas," says Allen.

K&M Relocation Network finds temporary housing for corporate clients coming in to California, but in 2008 business dropped nearly 40 percent.

"They're looking for local hires because there's so much talent here that had to be let go from companies so they'd rather hire somebody here versus the expense of moving them cross-country," says Margo Jordan of K&M Relocation Network.

Until a few years ago, several big name companies in Silicon Valley used to offer hefty relocation packages, which included area orientation tours, language classes, and even private tutors for children.

That was also a time when employees were given months to find permanent housing. Now the average stay in one of K&M's set-ups is just 45 days.

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