Even though the area has added more workers during the last five years than any other metro area in the country, many higher-level employees have given up their Houston job in order to relocate.

The Houston area has continued to fare better than most of the country throughout the economic recession. During June, the area’s unemployment rate was at 8.8 percent, which is lower than the national average of 9.5 percent.

The Houston area had a total non-farm employment of 2,526,600 workers during June, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is up from 2,526,000 workers during May and only a .7 percent decrease from last year.

So why are high-level workers leaving the area?

A recent study from Right Management – the career management division of Manpower Inc. – found that up to 13 percent of mid-level to senior-level job seekers who found work during 2009 eventually relocated from the Houston area. The study analyzed data on more than 350 people that found work through the agency.

According to professionals, this isn’t unusual, and may actually be a sign that the economy is improving. That’s because higher-level job seekers typically only accept an offer requiring relocation if the job offer pays more, offers better benefits, or offers more opportunity.

“Surprisingly, this trend has not changed much over recent years,” Don Amick, market vice president for Right Management, told the Houston Business Journal. “While job seekers were challenged with a tough employment market last year, it is reassuring that relocation choices actually turned out to be consistent with the data tracked prior to the recession.

“So relocation is no reflection on any single market, but an indication of a candidate’s fit for a new position,” he added. “Across the South about 20 percent of the job seekers we tracked relocated to a different market.”

Throughout the nation, about 15 percent of people relocated because of work last year.

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