Additionally, workers tend to spread out geographically during an economic cycle’s later stages, economists say, raising questions about how these cities will fare in a downturn. Workers are usually more confident—and employers more lenient—when the economy has been flourishing.
Ms. Swift said she and her family were effectively living paycheck to paycheck in the Los Angeles area. But living in Boise is 35% less expensive than living in Los Angeles, according to personal-finance website Bankrate.com. She and her husband, who have two children, bought a house in the Boise area after renting in L.A. It is twice as big as their old place, but the monthly payments are half as much as their L.A. rent. There was also enough room for her mother to move in.
“We all love it,” she said. “We have a much higher quality of life here.”
Some regions see remote work as a promising way to lure people who otherwise wouldn’t consider the move. Vermont and the Shoals area of Alabama, among others, have introduced giveaways to draw telecommuters in the last few years. A program in Tulsa, Okla., hands some arriving remote workers $10,000 in cash. “You’re looking for something new,” says the website for the program, which is sponsored by the George Kaiser Family Foundation. “We’re looking for great people to join the Tulsa community.”