Attractive woman holding hired signChallenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., a nationwide outplacement firm, released a report that indicates that formerly underwater homeowners are now relocating in droves to find jobs. Home values have risen enough for underwater home owners to sell once again, and according to the report, 2013 may be the busiest year yet for job-specific relocations.

CEO John A. Challenger said, “One factor that has kept unemployment rates high has been the inability of underwater homeowners to relocate for employment opportunities. With home prices bouncing back, even those who may now simply break even on a home sale might consider moving to a region where jobs are more plentiful. This could spark a more rapid decline in the unemployment rate over the next year.”

Homeowners who were previously handcuffed to their homes because they owed more than it was worth, can now move to where the jobs are, and 2013 has already seen a dramatic uptick in relocations for this reason. In fact, the Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. report found that 13.3% of people seeking employment each quarter in 2012 relocated for a job opportunity.

Challenger said, “It is likely that employers in these low-unemployment regions are actually struggling to find available workers with the skills needed to fill job openings.” And that’s music to the ears of many skilled workers around the country who have sat idle during the recession hoping for a paycheck.