Is this a sudden and profound change in the mindset of Americans? It’s possible that people would rather stay unemployed at home in Mom’s basement than move across the country to find a paying job. (…)
We seem to find a lot of Americans way too attached to the houses they “own” even if, in reality, they owe so much on their mortgage that they don’t own anything at all. For decades, Michigan was the archetype of stable middle-class homeowning America; now, thanks to the collapse of Detroit auto manufacturing, houses there can be had for a song. Yet there is 50% unemployment in Detroit, and levels not much lower in the surrounding area.
How is this even possible? Surely at least some of those people have enough residual ambition to up-stakes for elsewhere, considering that anywhere else has more jobs than Michigan? Nope: many Michiganders can’t bear to abandon the home they paid so much for, even though it’s now worthless.