Supply and Demand in Action: 1-Way Truck Rentals
I've posted numerous times (here, here, here and here) about how one-way U-Haul truck rental rates reflect supply and demand in action and measure household migration patterns, resulting in high one-way rental prices that reflect high outbound demand (and low inbound demand), and low prices that reflect low outbound demand (and high inbound demand).
Now MSN Money reports on this phenomenon in an article "Where Jobs Are: The U-Haul Indicator"
One measure of a region's economic health is the relative price of moving-truck rentals. It has been said that people vote with their feet. They pick up and go to where the jobs and opportunities are. The hard part is that it costs more -- a lot more -- to move to where the jobs and opportunities are than to move to where jobs and opportunities are limited. My favorite measure for this doesn't come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nor does it come from any other agency of the federal government.
It comes from U-Haul, the truck and trailer rental company. It has on-the-ground evidence and prices its rentals accordingly. Go to its Web site, and you can learn quickly where people are going. You can also learn where they are leaving. How will you know this? Simple.
If lots of people are trying to go where you want to go, it will cost a lot more than renting equipment to go to the place everyone is trying to leave. Just as there is a law of supply and demand, there is a law of arrivals and departures.
MP: The U-Haul analysis has been circulating around the blogosphere for more than four years now, see Club for Growth (Andy Roth in Aug. 2005 was the first), Marginal Revolution (Sept. 2009) and Freakonomics (Sept. 2009). So you heard it first in the blogosphere, and four years later in the MSM.