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In principle, yes. In practice, not so much. For example, even I as a white-collar professional am limited because my industry is not everywhere. There are distinct locations where my skill-set might be usable (a bit in Phoenix, some in Austin, some in Oregon, etc). Most places, no. For blue-collar it is worse (not only because of location-specific jobs, but also because their skills are not usually difficult to replace so they have no negotiating power at all).

But you're not limited to 1 town and 1 company, as it used to be. As a highly trained worker it's also vastly easier in this day and age to hop industries -or- go out on your own.

The point? Today's workers aren't as dependent on The Man as they used to be.

Certainly I agree that people are more mobile, often (even perhaps usually) leaving the places of their birth. But once a career is established it is not usually trivial to change it. I could, but I'd have to "start over" and give up my nearly 20 yrs of industry experience. Some people do it, but it's not trivial.

Of course it isn't. But if things got desperate for you in your field you'd certainly entertain that option, wouldn't you? Of course you would. And in this day and age you could do it.

Perhaps you are thinking in terms of jobs like accounting. While each industry has its own wrinkles, standard accounting practices are, well, standard. One can more easily go from a tech firm to a bank to an automaker. A semiconductor engineer, or a miner, or an autoworker has fewer options.

Oh, no. I was thinking about engineering. I don't know where you work, but I'm in semis. I can hop to any number of other companies because of where my strengths are. Where people screw themsevles over is that they *think* they can't adapt.

The housing crisis is tangential, but clearly if nobody is issuing loans then you can neither sell your existing home nor buy a new one somewhere else.

Actually, it's not tangential. If you're tied to a house you can't pay for and can't sell, you can't very well move to a new job. The housing crisis hit workforce mobility in the US pretty hard, which meant that even as companies posted openings they weren't able to fill them.
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