A model is considered in which optimal search intensity is a result of a trade off between short run losses due to higher search costs (more interviews, commuting...) and long-run gains due to a higher chance of finding a job. We show that this optimal search intensity is higher in areas characterized by larger cost of living and/or higher labor market tightness. This model is then tested for England on sub-regional data. We estimate a spatial error model and we find that both the local cost of living and the local labor market tightness are found to have a positive and significant effect on unemployed average search intensity. These findings are consistent with the prediction of the theoretical model.