Atlas Van Lines says fewer Americans are on the move, and the states they are moving to have shifted, since the late-2000s recession forced more workers to seek jobs far afield.
"The moving industry as a whole has contracted annually over the last five years," said Jack Griffin, CEO and vice chairman of owner Atlas World Group, Evansville, Ind. Atlas calls itself the second-largest moving company in the U.S., after United Van Lines, but it's a fragmented industry. Atlas moved 75,400 last year, a small sampling that gives a window on recent trends. Read the Atlas rankings, with links to past data, here. (Updated)
In Delaware, blasted by DuPont Co. layoffs and corporate mergers, three families moved out for every two that moved in, according to Atlas data. Only three other states — oil-bust-afflicted Wyoming, plus Nebraska and Illinois — had more people fleeing, compared to those moving in.
Pennsylvania was also a net exporter of residents, with 2,801 Atlas trucks moving people out, and just 2,271 moving in — an out/in ratio of 55%/45% of total moves, about the same as in each of the past three years. Energy-depressed Louisiana and West Virginia, and high-priced New York and Connecticut also said a lot more Good-byes than Hellos.
Winners and Losers in Cross-State Moves
Where's everyone heading? The Northwest, and to the rim of the South: Idaho, Oregon, North Carolina, and Tennessee all brought in at least 3 new families for every 2 that left. Washington State, Alaska, and Florida also attracted more than they lost.
More surprisingly, Michigan — formerly a basket case among Rust Belt states — was close behind, with nearly three move-ins for every two departures. Among cold-winter states, New Hampshire also gained more than drove away.
Massachusetts, Texas and California had slightly more move-ins than departures. New Jersey lost more than it gained, but was closer to break-even than Pennsylvania.