For instance, parts of the country (New York City, Silicon Valley, Texas) are doing extremely well, yet able-bodied adults sit idle in other areas. Why don’t the unemployed, and the large numbers who have dropped out of the labor force, move to the boom towns? Wouldn’t it be better to drive an Uber in Brooklyn than to get by on welfare in West Virginia?
Yet labor mobility is in a funk. Especially after WWII, millions of Americans with limited resources — southern blacks — moved hundreds of miles from home to take up industrial jobs in the north. At the peak, more than 30 percent of southern-born blacks moved north, from 1920 through the 1960s. Even when technological limitations made long-distance travel extremely onerous, in the late 19 century, we were willing to travel in search of opportunity. In the second half of the 1800s, more than two-thirds of US men over 30 had moved away from their hometowns, and more than a third of those moves were for more than 100 miles.
(Link to the whole article)