My colleague, Simon Cawley, shared this with me. The U-Haul indicator is a simple test of migration patterns in the U.S. Put simply, it costs more to rent a U-Haul moving truck when the destination city is more popular than the origination city.
So what does it cost to leave Las Vegas?
Try $1,880 if you want to rent a 26-foot U-Haul truck, fill it with your worldly goods, and drive it to San Antonio. (In these comparisons, Nov. 3 was selected as the moving date.) But if you wanted to leave San Antonio (August unemployment rate: 7%) and move to Las Vegas, it would cost you only $437 for the same equipment.
Want to move from Chicago (9.7% unemployment) to Houston (8.4% unemployment)? It will cost you $1,970. But it will cost only $449 to make the trip from Houston to Chicago.
Los Angeles (11.8% unemployment) to Houston was $2,051, while Houston to Los Angeles was only $555.
Not surprisingly, there is a significant Texas premium. 🙂