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Ready or not, when Uncle Sam says it’s time to hit the road for your next military move, it’s time to hit the road! Going through a permanent change of station (PCS) move can be one of the most stressful parts of military life, but we are here to help. 

If you’re planning for a PCS move you’ll want to plan as early as possible. Before official orders you’ll need to plan in advance and research as much as possible. The minute you get your orders, start your move. This is because the US is seeing a major shortage in available movers, that could cause you a headache.

Labor shortage and other fallouts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic continue to affect various sectors across the United States. The transportation sector has not been spared, according to the latest US Chamber of Commerce statistics, labor shortage has been the worst it has been in approximately 20 years. Figures show that for every job opening, there are half as many workers (at 1.4 workers per opening) when compared with figures 20 years ago. In some instances, the figures are worse. Some figures show that there are simply fewer job seekers than job openings. Where transportation services are being affected by these shortages, the movement of goods, services, other items, and personnel, is significantly impeded.

Labor Shortage, Transportation and Military PCS Move Season

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the reality of a labor shortage is proving to be a challenge for men and women in the military who are moving zip codes in an effort to comply with their Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders. PCS moves are being affected in just about every state there is, as US Armed Forces personnel are unable to secure movers on time or at all, due to a shortage in the availability of movers.

Typically, the movement of approximately 325,000 household items is safely and efficiently managed by the US Transportation Command. This year, 130,000 of that number was accounted for by scheduled PCS moves. Of that 130,000, so far 120 moves have been ‘turned back’ due to the current shortage. ‘Turn backs’ result when moving companies booked to carry out a PCS move are unable to execute a previously scheduled move and the same has to be canceled or otherwise rescheduled. Importantly, reschedules are the result of the military transportation services working hard to find new movers to facilitate military personnel and their families.

The uncertainty of not knowing when and how their PCS move will happen results in much frustration and is a flat-out nightmare where planning is concerned. Families experiencing last-minute cancellations or rescheduling find that they are unable to plan properly. One spouse directly affected by the delay in her military husband’s PCS move commented that if there were “more transparency in communication,” then there would be a “better ability to plan.” For others, being faced with the prospect of having to organize and execute the move on their own was simply “the worst part.” Military spouse Kristin Bentley says “Make sure you pack up your kitchen in advance. That’s the hardest part!” Check out our tips on preparing your kitchen for a PCS move here.

Also unfortunate for PCS move candidates is the reality that all this shortage and the setbacks that come with are widespread. It is affecting families in states all across the country, as challenges are being reported from Norfolk Virginia all the way to Washington State. Unsurprisingly, areas with the tightest military holds are being hit the hardest. These areas include South Dakota, Hawaii, Colorado, California, Texas, and Washington State.

Affected Washington State military installations include:

  • Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM)
  • Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, WA
  • Naval Base Kitsap in Silverdale, WA
  • Naval Station Everett in Everett, WA
  • Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Oak Harbor, WA
  • Camp Murray Base in Tacoma, WA

Director of the Defense Personal Property Program at the U.S. Transportation Command, Rick Marsh, noted that in these areas, bookings for moving transportation already extend into July; thereby making it necessary to try and find alternatives that for all intents and purposes have their own set of challenges.

Are you PC’ing to JBLM, Fairchild, Kitsap, Everett, Whidbey Island or Camp Murray? Contact us to take advantage of your VA Loan Entitlement.

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