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The rapid decline in housing prices is distorting the normal workings of the U.S. labor market. Mobility opens up job opportunities, allowing workers to go where they are most needed. When housing is not an obstacle, more than 5 million working adults, nearly 4% of the nation’s workforce relocate annually for a new job after a layoff, to higher-paying work, to the next rung in a career or to escape harsh northern winters. Tens of thousands of people find their mobility increasingly restricted, unable to sell their homes easily and move on. This is making the labor force less flexible just as a weakening economy puts pressure on workers to move to wherever companies are still hiring. (NY Times 4/3/08)

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