CHICAGO, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- The number of U.S. managers relocating for a new job is on the rise, a sign of an improved housing market, a national employment firm said Wednesday.
Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said 14 percent of managers and executives moved to a new job in the first half of the year, more than twice the 6.7 percent from the same two quarters of 2012.
The four-quarter moving average of managers relocating for a new job rose from 11.1 percent in the first quarter to 13.4 percent in the second. At the end of the second quarter in 2012, the moving average was 9.8 percent.
Chief Executive Officer John Challenger said relocation is "rarely the most desirable option," even when the economy is doing well, and the financial crisis and deep recession made relocating more difficult.
"The recent collapse in the housing market made relocation even more unattractive, as many job seekers were stuck in homes with market values that had sunk well below what was owed," Challenger said.
"Now, home buying and home values are finally starting to gain some upward momentum, which is making it easier to move," said Challenger.
The firm noted that "some areas are still struggling."
In Rockford, Ill., for example, 43 percent of homeowners have homes that are considered underwater, a term that refers to the value of a home when it is less than what is owed on the mortgage.
In the Baltimore area, 25 percent of homes remain underwater, Challenger, Gray & Christmas said.
"Even with improving housing market conditions in parts of the country, relocation will remain an option of last resort for the majority of job seekers," Challenger said.