For the first time since 2003, companies that relocate employees reported that in 2009 relocation volumes were most affected by economic conditions, a result of the economic downturn. A lack of local qualified people had previously been the biggest factor. The economic recession of 2002 - 2003 was the last time economic factors figured so strongly in lower relocation volumes. The lack of qualified local people has declined as a factor in relocation volumes over the last four years.
Most companies the relocate employees offer incentives to encourage employees to relocate. These often include cost-of-living adjustments and relocation bonuses. Providing duplicate or temporary housing became a top incentive in 2009, presumably as a result of the depressed housing market, which would have made the sale of former homes impractical for many employees. In response to lower home values, loss-on-sale protection for former home sales was also offered more often by companies.
Interestingly, while companies that relocate employes said that they expected relocations for new hires and entry level employees to decrease during the recession, relocations for executives and senior managers were sometimes expected to increase. This is likely due to the critical importance of good management to navigate the company through times of crisis.
The relocation industry expected a boost in 2010 as a result of the optimism shared by most companies that relocate employees. Such companies expected their financial performance would improve from 2009 levels, and their budgets for relocation should also improve. Driving that optimism was an expectation that the economy would continue to recover. Regarding the real estate market in particular, the majority of companies of all sizes that relocate employees expected the market to stabilize at least, while a third to a half expected improvement.