Last night I went to dinner with some people from my former company. One of the people there, Z., is a chemical engineer. In fact, he's a very good chemical engineer. His last day is in a few weeks. After that he'll move to Sacramento to start a new job.
His story is not that unusual except in the context of the strange microcosm that is my former company. He has a wife and a kid, with another kid on the way. He needs a job. He interviewed on the East Coast and Midwest, as well as in Sacramento. The job in Sacramento made the most sense.
It was a strange relief to meet someone else who will be relocating, instead of just getting a job at a company with ties to my former company. The vast majority of the chemists and chemical engineers have done just that and are staying local. Even the ones who are still unemployed are pretty dead set on staying in the area.
Outside of this microcosm, though, the job market is pretty brutal.