Mismatch Unemployment and the Geography of Job Search


Could we significantly reduce US unemployment by helping job seekers move closer to jobs? Using data from the leading employment board CareerBuilder.com, we show that, indeed, workers dislike applying to distant jobs: job seekers are 35 percent less likely to apply to a job 10 miles (mi.) away from their zip code of residence. However, because job seekers are close enough to vacancies on average, this distaste for distance is fairly inconsequential: our search and matching model predicts that relocating job seekers to minimize unemployment would decrease unemployment by only 5.3 percent. Geographic mismatch is thus a minor driver of aggregate unemployment.

American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics