60 Seconds with Steve McKenna, Allied Van Lines, Vice President of Pricing and Contracts

BF: What economic advantages does Texas offer that have kept the state atop Allied’s relocation destination list for the last four years?

SM: Texas is often at the top our list due to a number of factors. First, it’s a large state with a large population; therefore, it’s likely to have a greater percentage of activity. The large metropolitan areas in Texas have diversified their economies over the last 20 years so that they are not as dependent on oil, making Texas more attractive to corporate headquarters and manufacturing operations. Homeland security also has generated more economic opportunities in Texas and other border states. For the consumer, Texas offers no income tax, lower property costs, and a lower cost of living than northern and western regions of the United States.

BF: What are some factors causing states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania to experience the highest outbound relocation losses?

SM: Michigan and Pennsylvania, like other areas dependent on heavy manufacturing and the auto industry, have been in decline for a number of years. With a push by retirees to head south and corporations looking south for lower costs, the Northeast and Midwest feel the negative effects of the migration patterns.

BF: Based on Allied’s survey, the top three US magnets (Texas, North Carolina and Virginia) are Southern states. If not coincidental, to what can you attribute this regional relocation trend?

SM: The Southern economy offers a lower cost of living, a more temperate climate, and diversified metropolitan areas that have become more sophisticated.  Retirees are targeting the Carolinas as well as other non-traditional destinations such as Tennessee, Arkansas, and Alabama. The trend is real and is brought even more to light in the wake of the current economic condition.

Texas on Top

More people chose to relocate to Texas than any other state in 2008, according to Allied Van Lines’ 41st Annual Magnet States Report released in January. The report tracks US migration patterns, and Texas snagged the top spot for the fourth consecutive year.

Texas achieved the highest net relocation gain (inbound moves minus outbound moves performed by Allied) of 1,903 in 2008. Also for the fourth year in a row, North Carolina placed second on the list with a net relocation gain of 800, followed by Virginia in third place with a gain of 398. Colorado and Oregon placed fourth and fifth respectively for states with the largest net relocation gains.

“Texas truly offers such a wide range of activities for its residents,” says David King, general manager of Berger Transfer and Storage, Allied’s largest booking and hauling agent, located in Houston.

The largest net relocation losses (more outbound than inbound shipments) were experienced by Michigan. Auto industry difficulties most likely continued to hurt relocations to Michigan in 2008, as Allied’s outbound shipments of 2,388 nearly doubled its inbound shipments of 1,181. Pennsylvania experienced the second largest net relocation loss with 855 more outbound than inbound moves, followed by New Jersey (738) and Illinois (551).