Unemployment leading to California exodus

Duane Conder
Duane Conder
CBS News

According to a new study, the sluggish U.S. economy has sharply reduced illegal immigration from Mexico. From a high of 1,600,000 arrests in 2000, the Border Patrol last year arrested 327,000 - a low not seen since the early 1970s.

CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy reports that the sluggish economy has also triggered a large wave of immigration inside the United States.

As a freelance photographer Duane Conder knows his way around a camera. That's come in handy now that he's selling a lot of what he owns on eBay. He's getting ready to move.

"It'll be rather traumatic," Duane said.

Duane and his family have lived in their home near San Diego for 11 years.

"It was like someone turned off a spigot. Where did the work go? It was like literally you woke up one day - and there was no work," Duane said.

The dot-com boom drew them from Texas to California, and now the prolonged job bust is forcing them out. California's unemployment rate is 11.7 percent. Duane can't find work and last week the bank foreclosed on his family's home.

"I feel like it's the land we need to get out of very fast," Duane said of California.

The Conders are moving back to Texas where unemployment is lower, at 8.4 percent. In 2010, Texas gained nearly 75,000 new residents, while California lost nearly 130,000. The biggest state to state shift in the country was people leaving the Golden State and heading to the Lone Star state.

Jobs are just one reason for the migration. Housing is another. A somewhat typical 3-bedroom home in Los Angeles just sold for more than $1 million, yet in a suburb of Austin, Texas, a somewhat typical 4-bedroom home sold for $380,000. The people who bought it moved from California."

"We'll stay here in Texas and we visit California quite a bit," said Bill Gaiennie, who moved his family and his computer consulting business from California to Austin. They traded in a 1-bedroom apartment for their 4-bedroom home.

"If we would have stayed in California, in order for us to make it in an area where we would want to live, we would need to be a two income family," Bill said.

But with the lower cost of living and no personal income tax in Texas, Bill's wife Jessica now stays home with their daughter Gwen.

"We go to gym we go to swimming lessons we do it all and if we lived in California we couldn't do that," Jessica said.

Yet they do miss that California weather and the ocean, but for now they'll trade blue waters for greener pastures.