Have house, won't travel

This is not good news:

Movement into and out of U.S. cities slowed sharply last year as the housing bust forced more Americans to stay put, according to new Census Bureau data.

. . .

Demographers attribute the migration slowdown to the slumping housing market, which is making it harder for sellers to unload houses and is encouraging buyers to wait for prices to fall further. Many Midwestern and Northeastern cities continue to attract new young residents, many of them renters, who move there for jobs. But because the housing market is so weak, some young urban couples who would normally be headed to the suburbs to start families are staying put, as are retirees hoping to move to the South.

High levels of labor mobility are one of the great strengths of the American economy. If our housing market is tying workers to slumping areas, it will take longer--and more pain--for the country to pull out of the current slowdown.