Economic News 1998

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updated: 2018-12-10
1998 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

  "It is no longer socially acceptable to dump employees on to the heap of unemployed.   Loss of market, & resulting unemployment, are not foreordained.   They are not inevitable.   They are man-made." --- W. Edwards Deming  

Steve Richfield _IEEE USA_
How to Avoid Becoming a Chronically Unemployed Older Engineer
"According to an IEEE unemployment survey [1998], the mean duration of unemployment has grown from 84 weeks in 1995, to 92 weeks in 1996, to 103 weeks in 1998...   The IEEE unemployment survey determined that attending job fairs actually adds 29 weeks to the duration of unemployment!   This face-to-face setting makes it easy for prospective employers to discriminate on the basis of age, whereas networking and phone interviews can often get you in the door and past HR's automatic age filter.   Networking has [been] shown to reduce the duration of unemployment by 36 weeks on average...
1. Most engineers are CS/IT, which has been hit much harder than EEs.
2. 59% of H-1Bs are computer related, while only 5% of H-1Bs are EEs.
2. 80% of employed IT engineers are <45 years old.
3. Industry apologists are not older IT engineers, who know better.
4. 83% of IT workers are native-born citizens.
5. 2.2M people in core IT occupations.
6. Only 19% still programming 20 years after graduation.
7. Only 2.3% of programmers qualify for unemployment benefits.
8. 90% of older degreed scientists and engineers are somehow employed.
9. 7% of H-1Bs are over 40.


"Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no one else has thought." --- Albert Szent-Gyorgi






Blake Fontenay _Orlando FL Sentinel_
Telecomm players are wired to compete


1998-01-06 23:55:12
Gene A. Nelson _Network of Emerging Scientists_
S&E glut
"Again to recap the key statistic, the National Science Foundation's SESTAT [Science and Engineering STATistical site] at indicates on the cover page that the '1993 SESTAT Integrated Data-base contains records on over 100K college graduates with an education and/or occupation in a natural sciences, social science or engineering field representing about 12M scientists and engineers in the United States.'   The U.S. Department of the Census's Current Population Survey (CPS) shows that there are about 3M employed scientists and engineers.   This is a glut of 4 people to every position.   Some science and engineering fields have gluts greater than this average."



Record lay-off announcements
"Out-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas says more lay-offs were announced in 1998 -- 677,795 -- than in any other year in the decade.   The 1998 total exceeds by 62,609 the previous decade high of 615,186 reached in 1993, the Challenger report says...   (Daily Labor Report page A-6)   Job cuts announced by U.S. firms in December -- totally 103,166 -- were the highest of the year, doubling the figures for November...   Analysts at the firm attributed the rise in job cuts to the Asian economic crisis, low oil prices, and a weakening manufacturing sector (Washington Post page F1)."





David Greising _Business Week_
It's the Best of Times... Or Is It?: Many companies plan to down-size

Laura DiDio _ComputerWorld_
Over the hill?: They're ready and willing to work. But for IS women over 50, the road back to the work-place is dotted with barriers
"US Census Bureau figures show that as of 1997 August, the un-employment rate for all US workers over age 55 fell to 3%, from 5.5% in 1992.   But the un-employment rate for those over 50 in the computer industry and corporate IS is about 17%...
  Bill Payson, founder of Senior Staff 2000 [said that if] women over 50 were being hired, we'd be the first to know.   But it's just not happening.   And it's a damn shame, Payson says.   A disproportionately high number of the early programmers were women, Payson says."




Larry Slonaker 1998-01-15 _San Jose Mercury News_
(reprinted in _FSView_ 1998-01-21 pg A26)
IT Shortage Propaganda
"With as many as 400K jobs available nationwide in information technology, some US colleges are striving mightily to entice students into computer science...   the supply continues to be dwarfed by the demand...   This week in Oakland, CA, at a high-tech shortage conference, which brought gov't, industry & academic officials, the Clinton administration pledged $28M in new initiatives to bring people to computing work."





Julia King _ComputerWorld_
Labor confab issues call for training
"The Labor Department said it will distribute $3M in grants to re-train laid-off workers as programmers and another $8M to build an on-line recruiting site where employers and candidates can post job openings and resumes.   The Commerce Department will kick in another $17M to bring technology and training to the poor.   Another $6M in grants will go to industry groups that foster internship programs and vocational training at companies for young people."




Martha Rhodes Roberts _Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services_
testimony to US House committee on Agriculture, sub-committee on Risk Management and Specialty Crops
"The upcoming round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations of the World Trade Organization beginning in 1999 is extremely important to Florida agriculture.   The globalization of trade has increasingly placed unacceptable pressures on Florida agriculture where inconsistent regulatory requirements, unequal subsidies and supports, non-tariff trade barriers and unsatisfactory and unworkable safeguards and dispute resolution mechanisms have been continually encountered.   Aggressive and thoughtful leadership by U.S. officials involved in the upcoming negotiations will be necessary to prevent any further erosion and disappearance of Florida and U.S. food production.   In any negotiations, U.S. officials must keep in mind that in comparison with most farmers in the world, U.S. growers have traditionally received little Government support.   Following the Uruguay Round and then the farm bill of 1996, Government assistance to American farmers was even further reduced.   As farmers in most other countries are more protected and receive higher subsidies than their counterparts in the United States, U.S. officials must be careful not to negotiate away the few protections left to American farmers nor to reduce tariffs and other protections in the United States where disparate barriers and subsidies exist for major foreign producers whether in Europe, South America or elsewhere...   the United States should seek tariff equivalency on most agricultural products, the elimination of export subsidies, the establishment of meaningful international rules on state trading enterprises, and international consensus on the use of genetically modified organisms...   According to the U.S. Trade Representative, the average international tariff on agricultural products is 56% while the average U.S. tariff is only 3%...   During the Uruguay Round, many of our trading partners pushed for across-the-board formulas to reduce tariffs.   Tariff reductions were often made without reference to the array of other barriers—whether quotas, subsidies, et cetera—that surrounded a product in major foreign markets.   The result can be parity of tariff reductions—absolutely or on a percentage basis—but a gross disparity in the total measure of protection provided."





Paul Franson _UpSide_
H-1B Visa Dispute
"David S. North, a former assistant to the secretary of labor and author of _Soothing the Establishment: The Impact of Foreign-Born Scientists and Engineers on America_ (University Press of America, 1995) points out, 'There is little to keep employers from bringing in what are basically exploited workers.'...
  [Robert A. Rivers] says employers could hire from the US work-force if they were willing to change their hiring practices and re-train workers...   Suggestions range from further restricting temporary foreign workers to expanding them, from tightening regulations to letting companies buy visas for a stiff fee such as $10K that would make it less attractive to hire foreigners than to work harder to find or train Americans or permanent residents...
  Paul Franson is a free-lance writer who specializes in the business implications of technology.   He formerly ran Franson, Hagerty & Associates, a public relations agency for high-tech firms, and was a trade magazine editor and writer."

Norm Matloff _NY Times_
Now Hiring! If You're Young
"If companies were that desperate, they simply could not be so picky...   According to a survey conducted by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Census Bureau, 6 years after finishing college, 57% of computer science graduates are working as programmers; at 15 years the figure drops to 34%, and at 20 years -- when most are still only in their early 40s -- it is down to 19%.   In contrast, the figures for civil engineering are 61%, 52% and 52%...   A programmer who becomes, say, an insurance agent after failing to find programming work counts in the statistics as an employed insurance seller, not an unemployed software worker...   Yet even if a programmer takes a course in, say, the new Java language, employers will still tend not hire him or her for a Java project.   'Taking a course is just not going to work for a senior person, given his salary.', said Maryann Rousseau, an employment agent.   Why hire a retrained but more expensive 40-year-old when a cheaper new graduate is available?   And the skills issue is a red herring; any competent programmer, if given a chance to learn on the job, can become productive in a new software technology within a few weeks...   From 1990 to 1996, employer applications for visas for foreign programmers mushroomed by 300%, even though software jobs increased by only 40% in this period.   College computer science enrollments exploded by 40% last year.   But once word gets out that the half-life of a techie is only a few years, how many will see it as the fast track to money and success?"


_Contact: The Phoenix Project_/_Orlando Sentinel_
Planned job cuts rose from 38,402 in 1996 December to 58,293 in 1997 December
"The number of planned job cuts by major US businesses rose in December from a year ago, a survey showed Wednesday.   Planned cuts rose 56% last month to 58,293 from 38,402 in 1996 December, according to the monthly survey by Challenger, Gray & Christmas.   Compared with a month earlier, planned firings increased 23%. For all of 1997, announced job cuts totaled 434,350, down from 477,147 in 1996."





1998 January
_BrainMarket Corporation_
High Tech Workers
"ITAA sponsored a National Information Technology work-force Convocation on 1998 January 12-13 in California.   At the conference, the Clinton administration announced $28M in new initiatives to train more US programmers and create a web site for employers to find programmers, and programmers to find US jobs.   A paper prepared for the conference estimated that information technology is the largest sector of the US economy, generating revenue of $865G a year in the $7T US economy.   Such estimates are often fanciful.   One estimate, for example, is that for every $1 spent on programmer salaries, companies generate $43 in additional revenue, so that not filling a $55K computer programmer slot costs a company about $2.5M in lost revenue.   Given profit rates of 15% to 25%, this would suggest that a computer firm would willingly pay up to $400K a year to fill the vacancy.   ITAA says that computer programmer salaries are rising by 20% to 28% a year; other surveys suggest 9% annual increases...
  Some employers count jobs currently filled by temporary or contract workers to be 'vacant'.   However, US high-tech firms such as MSFT hire only about 2% of those who apply for jobs.   Many high-tech companies scan applications, and have computers reject all those that do not fit prescribed criteria...   Many press reports note that advertised programmer jobs attract far more than one qualified applicant.   The American Engineering Association [a professional association, not to be confused with the American Electronics Association or AeA, an industry trade association] claims that the supply of programmers exceeds industry requirements 'by several times'.   The AEA says that employers over-specify the skills needed to fill a job, that wages have not risen as much as would be expected if there were a shortage, and that most employers spend very little on employee training.
  The unemployment rate for those over 50 in the computer industry is about 17%...   very selective hiring and over-specification of required skills, not lack of programmers, is behind claims of programmer shortages.   Matloff notes that companies often refuse to consider programmers over age 35...

  Some programmers complain that it is hard to find staff employment with the largest US high-tech companies.   MSFT and many other high-tech companies hire 'perma-temps', workers who are employed alongside regular employees, but who are employees of the agencies that pay them.   These agencies have sub-contracts to do work for MSFT.   About 3,500 of 12K MSFT workers in the Seattle area -- 27% -- are temporary workers employed by outside agencies; the average age of MSFT employees is reportedly 34.   In 1990, the IRS concluded that many of MSFT's free-lance workers should be considered regular employees and MSFT responded by turning to temp agencies [bodyshops] to obtain workers...   the pay-rolling company issues checks, withholds taxes and otherwise acts as employer, taking about 30% from what MSFT pays for the worker to cover taxes and basic benefit costs, as well as the agency's mark-up.   One programmer fired by MSFT sued in 1993, saying that under the temp arrangement, MSFT 'would give job guarantees and benefits to all these students they were hiring from over-seas, but then deny us benefits'.   The US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of this worker and others in a similar situation in 1997 July, saying they were 'common-law' employees deserving of full benefits, even though they had signed contracts agreeing they would not receive benefits...
  As many as 800K of the nation's 2.5M information technology workers may be contract workers with no job security.   The Conference Board estimates that as many as 20% of US corporations use temps as more than 10% of their work force; other estimates put the percentage of temps in the high-tech industry at 40%.
  According to one report, about 200K of the 550K US computer programmers have a 4-year college degree, and often not in computer science...
  The Washington Post on 1997 November 30 reported on Washington-area hiring practices.   One company receives hundreds of applications monthly, but calls only about 8% of applicants for interviews, and offers jobs to only about a quarter of those interviewed...   The Wall Street Journal on 1998 January 8 profiled a $100K-a-year recruiter of foreign programmers employed by Information Management Resources of Clearwater, Florida.   IMR is a 'body shop' that sends programmers to major US firms for programming jobs that last 12 to 18 months...   hiring is very selective; well under half of the qualified Brazilians interviewed by the recruiter were offered US jobs by the recruiter...   In 1985 the National Science Foundation projected a 'short-fall' of 692K bachelor's degrees in natural science and engineering [the most-quoted figure was 675K].   However, the NSF report was based on a methodology that considered only supply, not demand, and the 1990 recession and the end of the Cold War led to a surplus of scientists and engineers, not a shortage [and, besides, the author of the report just made the number up]."

1998 January
_American Engineering Association_
AEA urges investigation: Manpower Fluctuations Give Engineers Grief
annual index
Richard F. Tax article with graph (pdf)
"AEA President, Bill Reed, said the group objects to a department of the federal government using [tax-victim] funds to promote policies which fosters greater immigration, age discrimination, and reduced salaries for engineers and technical professionals.   Reed said, 'Since the early 1960s we have graduated over 8M engineers and scientist and today only employ about half that number.   A person normally works for 35 to 40 years; where are the other 4M or so technical and scientific graduates?   Of all the technical employees in the Information Technology industry only about 25% have computer and information science degrees.   The other 75% come from such diverse groups as Psychology and Physical Science degrees.   How may hundreds of thousands with these degrees are potentially available?   It is ludicrous to think there are not capable people available to fill these positions.   MSFT indicates they only hire about 2% of their applicants and we believe that is common among the information technology companies. Where is the shortage?'   Reed said 'In the mid 1980s we heard the cry of wolf from the American Electronics Association [AeA], in the early 1990s it was the National Science Foundation [NSF] and today it seems it is the ITAA and Department of Commerce.   In each case, the purpose of these reports was to show the need to increase immigration and increase funding for the academics.   In each of the first 2 cases, the stories were followed by legislation in Congress to increase the importation of foreign workers.   Somehow the perceived '''shortage''' never appears, but thousands of foreign workers do.'   According to the Deutsch, Shea & Evans (D, S & E) High Tech Recruiting Index (HTRI) and an analysis by Robert Rivers, the curve shows less than 16% of the 30 year time period from 1960 to 1990 when there was room for new engineers without displacing older engineers.   The rest of the 30 years or 84% of the time, there was room for new engineers only if older engineers were displaced.   Twenty five percent (25%) of the period there was no room for new engineers and older engineers were still being displaced.   The D, S & E (HTRI) is a demand study by counting advertisements for 4 year technical degreed personnel but is no longer collected.   'The ITAA/DoC effort is aimed at extracting public funds for increased immigration, more money for the universities and more money for the federal bureaucracy with the object to reduce pay-roll costs for the companies.'"

1999 January
Robert E. Scott & Jesse Rothstein _Economic Policy Institute_
American Jobs & the Asian Crisis: Employment impact of the coming rise in the US trade deficit
"if the U.S. trade deficit increases by $100G to $200G, 700K to 1.5M jobs will be eliminated in manufacturing and other tradable goods industries, and these job losses will occur in every state.   Male blue-collar workers will be particularly hard hit...   States will suffer job losses and severe dislocations.   Figure 1 illustrates the gross impact of a $100G rise in the trade deficit on employment in the 50 states; Figure 2 shows the net effect assuming a completely successful offset policy by the Federal Reserve.   (3) Table 1 provides specific estimates for each state of a $100G and $200G increase in the trade deficit, either of which would generate gross employment losses in all 50 states (see columns 1 and 3).   Particularly hard-hit states include California; Texas; the industrial heartland states in the upper Midwest, such as Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana; and apparel centers such as New York, Pennsylvania, and the Carolinas.   California alone will lose more than 120K jobs."

  "Cable modems can move data at a maximum of 27Mbps.   It is estimated that individuals on a cable data network could see data rates of 1-5Mbps..." --- Bob LeVitus & Shelly Brisbin 1998 _Mac Answers!_ pg 259  

"What indeed are all the repealing, explaining, and amending laws, which fill and disgrace our voluminous codes, but so many monuments of deficient wisdom." --- James Madison _Federalist #62_



Linda Wilson _ComputerWorld_
18 months without a job: took a pay cut

news for investors: Alan Merton on board dead link



1998-02-04 04:00PST (07:00EST) (12:00GMT)
Margie Wylie "Signal 2 Noise" _CNET_
The skills shortage that isn't: When the rising tide floats employees' boats, employers proclaim disaster
"Last month, the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) released a report that said 1 in 10 computer openings nowadays languishes unfilled because of the so-called shortage, which amounts to a total of 346K open 'information technology' (IT) positions.   That estimate was nearly double what the trade association projected just a few months earlier...
  The industry [executives have] made it clear.   [They are] not interested in re-training the current work-force, which is likely adequate for its needs.   No, it wants fresh bodies, preferably young or beholden ones willing to accept entry-level wages for long hours and who are either burdened with few family obligations or willing to pass them over...
  MSFT extends offers to only 4% of those selected for interviews, and hires only 2% of its total applicants, Matloff points out.   MSFT says its rejection rate is so high because it hires only the best and brightest.   Matloff counters that out of 50 MIT graduates recently considered, the company took one.   If MSFT and other employers were really desperate, they couldn't afford to be so picky, he says.
  Instead, companies insist programmers have experience in relatively new languages or they won't consider them at all.   The only shortage, Matloff says, is of young, cheap programmers straight out of school, well-versed in the flavor-of-the-day programming language or information system...
  for the most part, companies are unwilling to re-train experienced programmers to fill available slots...
  Six years after finishing a computer science degree, only 57% of computer science graduates are working as programmers.   After 15 years, only 34% remain.   At 20 years, a mere 19% are still working as programmers.   Nobody knows for certain why the turn-over rate is so high, but here's one clue: Programmers over the age of 50 suffer an astounding 17% rate of unemployment, according to one estimate...   older workers, especially women, are finding their skills to be a hard sell, a recent ComputerWorld column reported.   And many of the 20K engineers laid off in the early 1990s because of military contractor down-sizing and base closings still haven't found work in technical fields...
  As late as 1987, 60K graduates were competing for about 25K open positions
, according to Janet Ruhl, author of _The Programmers Survival Guide_...   For example, between 1990 and 1997, Digital Equipment Corporation cut more than 20K US jobs.   During that same period, it applied for 1,100 H-1B visas, according to the Software Professionals Political Action Committee (SoftPAC), a lobbying group formed to oppose increases in temporary immigrant visas.   Furthermore, a 1994 UCLA study found that immigrant engineers were paid about one-third less than native-born counterparts with equivalent skills and experience.   And Matloff's own salary survey from the 1990 US census data found that immigrant Silicon Valley software engineers earned an average of $7K less than prevailing wages for US citizens."


David Byrd _Northwestern University Medill News Service_
Last month's job cuts largest in 2 years
"U.S. employers eliminated 72,193 jobs in January, the most since 1996 January, when 97,379 job cuts were announced, the Challenger survey reported.   The January figure is 66% higher than in 1997 January increase in the number of job cuts over 1997 January, when 43,595 jobs were eliminated.   It's the fourth consecutive month that the number of job cuts has risen.   'It's quite dramatic.', said John Challenger, executive vice president of Challenger, Gray.   'The pace of lay-offs in the last 4 months is mirroring the peak of the down-sizing in the 1990s...   Most lay-offs go unreported, especially in smaller companies and non-public companies.'...   For the year, there was a net gain of 3.2M jobs created in 1997, noted Sharon Cohany, an economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington, DC."


_Boomers Serious Side of Life_
Lay-Offs Leaped in January quoting _San Jose Mercury News_
"Job cuts soared to 72,193 in January up 24% from December and 66% from 1997 January, the out-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. said.   Nearly 40% of last month's cuts were at AT&T Corp. and Seagate Technology Inc. of Scotts Valley.   Over the last 4 months, the number of lay-offs announced has averaged about 56K, compared with an average 36K for all of 1997."




Shelley Coolidge _Christian Science Monitor_
Pink Slips Persist & Perplex: No Down-Turn to Down-Sizing
"In January alone, major US businesses cut 72,193 jobs, the most for any month since 1996 January, according to out-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas in Chicago...   Since 1989, major US companies have announced 4M job cuts, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a trend that peaked in 1993 with 615,186 lay-offs. But cuts have been steady since then, at roughly 450K jobs each year..."


1998-02-09 20:04PST (23:04EST) (1998-02-10 04:04GMT)
Fred Katayama _CNN_/_IDG_
Computer industry caught in numbers crunch
"Robert Walley, executive vice president of Gemini, says that unless his company and others are able to find a new source of workers, 'it would increase the prices of the resource pool'...   In 1996, a report on programs involving international labor said the system was broken, and a Senate subcommittee is scheduled to hold hearings on the issue in about 2 weeks.   While no one contends the program has been fixed, there is not even data available to show which companies hire the most H-1 visa holders."







Camille Luckenbaugh _NACE_
Starting Salaries for New Grads
Economics & Finance$32,522
Computer Science$40,417
EE Engineering$41,192
Chemical Engineering$44,735
Mechanical Engineering$40,117
Civil Engineering$35,251


E-Mail Trends: Most Measures of Economic Performance Show the US Out-performing our Competitors
"In fact, the average unemployment rate for the European members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 1995 was over 10%, nearly double the US rate of 5.3% at the end of 1996 June.   Weak job growth, combined with continuing growth of the labor force, has also led to a lengthening of the duration of unemployment, which was already significantly longer than in the US."




1998-02-20 07:00PST (10:00EST) (15:00GMT)
Lay-Off Stats
BLS site
"In 1997 December, there were 1,608 mass lay-off actions by employers as measured by new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during the month, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.   Each action involved at least 50 persons from a single establishment, and 170,110 workers were involved...   In 1997 December, manufacturing industries accounted for 36% of all mass lay-off events and 40% of all initial claims filed."





_abc News_/_Reuters_
High-Tech Firms [Executives] Seek Help To Ask Congress for More Visas
"Brian Raymond, domestic policy manager for the American Electronics Association, a trade [lobbying] group representing some 3K technology companies...   At issue are H-1B visas, allowing non-citizen doctors, computer programmers and other professionals to work in the United States for up to 6 years.   The visas are [supposed to be] used to fill shortages of skilled workers, or are for people with extraordinary talents."

_Orlando FL Sentinel_
MCI filed complaint against BellSouth for blocking competition in local telephone service


1998-02-25 04:00PST (07:00EST) (12:00GMT)
Margie Wylie _CNET_/_ZD Net_
Employers should pay the full price to import workers
"Here's a solution to this polarized debate: If high-tech firms want to be excused from competing in the U.S. labor market, let them pay for the privilege and import all the workers they can...   Plenty of critics think the shortage is exaggerated, if not outright fabricated.   They purport it's a ploy to bring cheap, virtually indentured immigrant employees into technology firms, which could depress the wages of domestic workers...   If companies are really desperate, paying $5K to apply for an H-1B visa and $20K a year to keep it should be well worth it.   It would give them the workers they so urgently need, and with those millions of dollars in projects finally off the back burner, their new workers should pay for themselves in a heart-beat...   Today, about 40% of the alloted 65K H-1B visas go to technical occupations...   Some of the money could also be used to reform and enforce current rules.   The H-1B visa program was never meant to be a source for cheap foreign workers, but that's exactly what it has become, according to a 1996 Labor Department investigation that uncovered rampant abuse.   Temporary workers are supposed to receive the same wages as their domestic counterparts, but they are routinely paid an average of one-third less by one estimate...   The White House hinted earlier in the week that it was willing to raise the visa cap if high-tech employers promised not to lay off existing workers.   Word barely got out before Cypress Semiconductor boss T.J. Rodgers was saying nothing doing!   He didn't want the government's nose to get into the high-tech industry's hiring tent.   This comes despite the fact that Digital Equipment applied for 1,100 temporary worker visas between 1990 and 1997 while cutting more than 20K jobs."

Burt S. Barnow, John Trutko & Robert Lerman
Skill Mis-matches and Worker Shortages and Worker Gluts: The Problem and Appropriate Responses
"If the quantity of labor offered exceeds the quantity that firms wish to purchase, there is a surplus, and if the quantity of labor desired by firms exceeds the amount workers offer at the prevailing price, there is a shortage.   In general, the quantity that workers are willing to provide is an increasing function of the wages (i.e., price) they can obtain, and the relationship between the amount that workers are willing to provide at various prices, with other factors held constant, is referred to as the supply curve...
  David S. Blank and George J. Stigler... define a shortage as follows: 'a shortage exists when the number of workers available (the supply) increases less rapidly than the number demanded at the salaries paid in the recent past'.   Blank and Stigler then argue that to alleviate the shortage, wages in the occupation must rise and some of the work formerly performed by the occupation with the shortage will now be performed by others...
  Employers will undertake what they see as the least expensive and most easily reversed actions first...
  1998 January, the unemployment rate for all college graduates was about 2%...   US Department of Commerce used BLS projections of growth rates of what were termed 'core' information technology occupations: computer scientists and engineers, systems analysts, and computer programmers.   BLS data for 1997 show a total of about 2.1M persons worked in these 3 'core' IT occupations...
  Exhibit 7 shows that by 1997, computer systems analysts and scientists held about 1.2M jobs, operations and systems researchers/analysts held about 201K jobs, and computer programmers held about 626K jobs.   Between 1988 and 1997, employment levels for computer systems analysts and scientists more than doubled, growing by 158.0%.   Over this same period, the number of workers employed as computer programmers increased slightly (9.8%), while employment in the systems researchers/analysts field declined by 4.3%.   In comparison, during the same time period, the number of workers employed in professional specialty occupations increased by 28.5% and the number of total workers in the United States (aged 16 and older) grew by 12.7%.
  Exhibit 8 shows that between 1988 and 1997, the average annual change in employment for computer systems analysts and scientists was in excess of 10% (11.1%).   This rate far exceeded the 2.8% average annual growth in employment in professional specialty occupations and the 1.3% growth in employment of workers age 16 and older in the US work-force.   Average annual changes in employment in the other 2 computer occupations were negligible over the same period: -0.5% for operations and systems researchers/ analysts, and 1.0% for computer programmers.
  Employment levels fluctuated significantly on a year-to-year basis, particularly for computer systems analysts and scientists.   In every year since 1988, employment levels for computer systems analysts and scientists increased, with annual growth exceeding 11% in 6 of the 8 years and reaching as high as 19.1% between 1993-94.   Employment levels for operations and systems researchers/analysts rose substantially in two of the 8 years (by 13.8% in 1988-89 and 22.9% in 1992-93), but declined in other years.
  Notably, there was a steady decrease during the final 4 years profiled (between 1993 and 1996), suggesting a slackening demand for these occupations.
  The year-to-year fluctuations in employment levels among computer programmers were less dramatic than those in the other 2 computer professions, with changes ranging from -8.1% in 1990-91 to 11.6% between 1996 and 1997.   [By Department of Labor Office of Economic Security estimates] Between 1988 and 1996, employment levels for computer systems analysts, engineers, and scientists more than doubled, growing by 133.3%.   Over this same period, the number of workers employed as computer programmers increased by only 10.3%.
  A survey conducted by Deloitte & Touche Consulting Group revealed that salaries for computer network professionals rose an average of 7.4% between 1996 and 1997.   Coopers and Lybrand found average salary increases at 500 software companies were 7.7% in 1995 and almost 8% in 1996.   Computerworld's annual survey found that in 11 of 26 positions tracked, average salaries increased more than 10% from 1996 to 1997.   According to this survey, system analysts' salaries increased by 15%, programmer/analysts salaries were up by 11%, and directors of systems development increased by 10%.   In 1997, starting salaries for graduates with bachelor's degrees in computer science had increased to an average of $36,666, while experienced programmers received salaries in the range of $45K to $75K.   The wage rates and wage growth reported in the Mercer study are far higher not only than the CPS weekly earnings data but also than other private surveys and the BLS employer survey data.   The Coopers and Lybrand study estimated that senior software engineers earned $63K annually, far below the rates listed in the Mercer study.   The BLS occupational compensation survey data show median weekly earnings of about $1K per week for jobs at the middle occupational level of computer systems analyst.   On an hourly rate, this works out to about $25 per hour, a figure well below the hourly earnings reported by Mercer for middle to high level IT occupations.   [See especially Exhibit 15 and consider whether it bears any resemblance to your experience or that of any computer wranglers you know.]
  Professional Specialty occupations is the broad occupational group within which computer systems analysts and scientists, and operations and systems researchers/analysts fall.   Other types of workers included in this category include architects, engineers, natural scientists, health diagnosing occupations, teachers, social scientists, and other professional workers.   Computer programmers fall under a different broad occupational group, referred to as Technical Sales and Administrative Support occupations."

_National Center for Policy Analysis_
The Up-Side of Down-Sizing
"Robust job creation has pushed employment to a record 130M.   Unemployment has fallen below 5%, reaching lows not seen in a quarter-century...   Yet every week or so there's a reminder that some American workers still face hard times.   Even during the seventh year of this expansion, lay-offs regularly shake the labor market.   In 1997 and early 1998, Fortune 500 companies cut 120,700 jobs.   There were 19K cuts at AT&T, 16,600 at Eastman Kodak, 12K at Boeing and 15K at United Parcel Service...
  The out-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., which tracks corporate lay-off plans, reports that job-cut announcements in the fourth quarter of 1997, at 152,854, were up 33% over their year-earlier level.   The 1998 January total of 72,193 was the highest monthly number in 2 years...
  A U.S. Department of Labor survey found that companies dismissed 17.4M workers between 1990 and 1995...   70% of workers surveyed by PSRA said they have less job security than 20 or 30 years ago.   61% of respondents blamed corporate mergers and down-sizings for holding wages down...   Job openings average roughly 525K per month, more than double the typical monthly growth of the labor force.   Half of those who lose their jobs find another within 6 to 8 weeks, two-thirds within 14 weeks and seven-eighths within 6 months...
  In total, they jettisoned almost 850K workers between 1990 and 1995.   All of these companies employ fewer workers today than 5 years ago; thus the lay-offs appear to be permanent...
  Indeed, stock price gains among the companies listed in Table I averaged more than 130% from 1990 to 1995, compared to 86% for the S&P 500 companies overall...   Today's unemployment rate of 4.7% is below that of 1990, and the economy has added nearly 11M new jobs, net of those destroyed, in the past 5 years."

How to get rich in DC: Join the Capitol Hill "$100K Club" for staffers
"554 Congressional employees make over $100K a year -- a number that's grown by 41% since 1995...   for the first time in history, there are more behind-the-scenes Congressional staffers pulling down 6-figure salaries than Congressmen and Senators...   Despite the _Reinventing Government_ scheme that President Clinton boasts about, the overall cost of the salaries and benefits paid to federal workers grew to $101.4G in 1996, compared to just $93.7G 4 years earlier.   This is despite the fact that federal employment has fallen by more than 300K workers, thanks to military down-sizing."

John R. Reinert of
IEEE 1998-02-25 to congress
Testimony on High Tech Worker Gluts & Immigration Policy
"In less than 4 years, unemployment among engineers and computer specialists, including computer scientists, systems analysts and programmers, has fallen from a historical high of 4.3% in 1994 to less than 1% in 1997.   At the same time, the total numbers of engineers and computer specialists employed in the United States grew to record highs in 1997 -- to more than 2M in the case of engineers & 1.2M computer scientists and systems analysts...
  The Immigration Act of 1990 raised permanent employment-based admissions ceilings from 54K to 140K a year, established new temporary visa categories for professional and skilled workers and streamlined admissions procedures for foreign nationals coming to study, work and conduct business in the United States...
  It should be noted that the term information technology workers as used by the ITAA includes an extremely broad range of professions and occupations -- degreed & non-degreed -- many of whom can be trained to function effectively in a high technology work environment in a matter of weeks...
  According to the Labor Department, 'data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for broad categories of computer-related occupations between 1988 & 1997 does not show the rapid growth in wages that would constitute evidence of widespread worker shortages.   Rather, such data is consistent with a gradual tightening of labor markets for IT workers in 1996 & 1997 and possible worker shortages in some occupational specialties in some parts of the country, particularly for computer programmers.'...
  Data from the National Science Foundation's Science and Engineering Statistics (SESTAT) system shows that in 1995, 19% of the people working as engineers of one kind or another had not been formally educated as engineers, i.e., had not received academic degrees in engineering.   For people working as computer scientists, systems analysts and programmers, the disparity between formal educational preparation and actual employment was (and presumably still is) even greater.   The SESTAT data indicates that only 29% of the people working as computer scientists at professional levels in 1995 had degrees in computer science.   Another 35% had degrees in engineering or natural science disciplines and fully 36% had degrees in the social sciences, business administration and other non-technical disciplines...
  In spite of increases in new job creation in the high tech and other product and services sectors, lay-offs and down-sizings -- which have become a fact of life in the 1990's -- are continuing with a vengeance.   According to statistics from the Chicago-based out-placement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, more than 473K working Americans lost their jobs in 1997, up nearly 10% from 434K in 1996...
  The numbers of degrees in science & engineering awarded to foreign nationals, particularly at the masters and doctoral levels, has been trending upwards in recent years -- from an average of 13% of all degrees in 1986 to nearly 18% in 1996.   IEEE membership reflects this trend.   According to statistics compiled for IEEE-USA by David North, the number of foreign engineers and computer scientists granted immigrant (permanent admission) status has increased gradually -- from a total of 9,431 in 1986 to a high of 18,464 in 1993.   The numbers of foreign engineers admitted to work temporarily in the United States on a variety of non-immigrant visas, OTOH, has grown much more rapidly -- from 21,800 in 1986 to 79,400 ten years later."

T.J. Rodgers to congress
Immigration: The View from Silicon Valley
"Cypress [Semiconductor] recruits from a total of 26 [out of several thousand] major schools nationwide (see Appendix A), including Georgia Tech, Stanford, the University of California at Berkeley, UCLA, and the universities of Illinois, Minnesota, Washington, and Texas."

_National Center for Policy Analysis_
The Up-Side of Down-Sizing: Fiddling while the USA job markets melt down
" Even during the seventh year of this expansion, lay-offs regularly shake the labor market.   In 1997 and early 1998, Fortune 500 companies cut 120,700 jobs.   There were 19K cuts at AT&T, 16,600 at Eastman Kodak, 12K at Boeing and 15,000 at United Parcel Service.   The out-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., which tracks corporate lay-off plans, reports that job-cut announcements in the fourth quarter of 1997, at 152,854, were up 33% over their year-earlier level. The 1998 January total of 72,193 was the highest monthly number in 2 years."



_Science Friday_
High-Tech Jobs
"unemployed computer programmers wonder why, if there is such a shortage of skilled workers, it is so difficult for some to find jobs.   Others point to the projected dearth of scientists announced in the 1980s.   It turned out that instead of there being a shortage of scientists and engineers, there was a surplus - leading to an extremely tight job market for science Ph.D.s today..."

1998 February
Joseph R. Meisenheimer II _Monthly Labor Review_
The services [bodyshopping] industry in the "good" versus "bad" jobs debate
"Because average wages are higher in manufacturing than in services, some observers view employment shifts to services as shifts from 'good' to 'bad' jobs.   However, a deeper assessment reveals that, within each major industry and especially in services, there is a range of job quality.   This article examines how the shift from manufacturing to services employment affects the quality of employment in the United States.   A comprehensive analysis -- examining pay, employee benefits, job security, occupational structure, and occupational safety -- indicates that many jobs in the services industry compare favorably with those in manufacturing and other industries."

"I thought I had a clue yesterday but now retract my claim." --- Sam Creecy







43,919 lay-offs were announced in February
"For the fourth consecutive month, job cuts outpaced those of a year ago, as employers acknowledged 43,919 reductions in February, 8% more than recorded a year ago, the international outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas announces... (Daily Labor Report, page A-4)."


1998-03-07 17:37:14PST (20:37:14EST) (2005-03-08 01:37:14GMT)
Immigration and the Middle Class
"the H-1B work visa issue now seems to impact U.S. workers in the middle class.   With the waves of corporate down-sizing etc. of the past few years has come increasingly pervasive age discrimination."


James Lardner _US News & World Report_
Too Old to Write Code?
"a 1993 national survey of college alumni, which showed that only a fifth of the computer-science graduates who started out in the profession were still in it 20 years later.   (The comparable figure for civil engineers was 52%.)   Confirming the trend, he adds, are more recent U.S. census data, which show a strikingly high unemployment rate of 17% among information-technology workers over the age of 50.   (By contrast, unemployment among professionals over 50 as a whole is around 2%.)"




1998-03-11 09:00EST
Robert Bellinger _EE Times_
Alleged worker shortages prompt companies to dig deeper
"The efforts come at a time when some critics point out that unemployment among IT workers over 50 is very high; in its March 16 issue, _U.S. News and World Report_ put the figure at 17%.   But older workers have some options."



Jennifer Ehrlich _Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal_
Job cuts continue
"Minnesota companies slashed more than 3,660 jobs last month, compared to 9,261 lay-offs throughout the entire Midwest, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., based in Chicago.   'We have seen a surging lay-off picture around the country in the last 4 months.', John Challenger, executive vice president and general manager of Challenger, Gray...   The February spike in job cuts, for instance, can be largely attributed to troubled Oakdale-based Imation Corp., which announced plans to reduce its global work force by 1,700...   From 1994 July to the present, nearly 165 plants have been shut down in Minnesota, according to statistics compiled by the Minnesota Dislocated Worker Program in St. Paul...   From 1994 July to 1995 June, more than 10K employees lost their jobs as a result of mass lay-offs.   As the bull market gained momentum the following year, the number of lay-offs in Minnesota rose to 11,490, according to the Minnesota Department of Economic Security (MDES)...   In 1996, workers that earned an average hourly wage of $13.52 before the down-sizing earned an average hourly wage of only $12.19 at their next job, according to the Dislocated Worker Program."




James Lardner _US News & World Report_
Too old to write code?   The software industry's alleged labor shortage may be a myth
U Texas Health Center
Stanford link to link
IEEE link to link
related links
original link?
"Frustrated job seekers are not the only ones who wonder how employers can be so hungry for talent and, at the same time, so picky...   some hiring managers to let vacancies go unfilled for months, says Andrew Gaynor, a head-hunter based in Redwood City, CA, rather than consider an applicant who, with a little training, 'could easily come up to speed in a few weeks'...   [age discrimination] and a growing reliance on foreign workers.   Employers typically hire between 2% and 5% of the programmers who apply, Matloff says, drawing his numbers from the public statements of corporate recruiters.   Even in the smaller subset of applicants who get called in for personal interviews, no more than 25% receive job offers.   'There's just no way,' [UC Davis CS professor Norm Matloff] argues, to square such figures with the idea of a shortage...   But Matloff argues that what the industry mainly wants is the ability to fill its personnel needs with recent college graduates and non-citizens -- the two categories of workers predisposed to work the longest hours for the least money.   To skeptics, the programmer shortage is only the latest episode in what Michael Teitlebaum, a demographer who served as vice chairman of the 1990-96 National Immigration Commission, calls a 'sad history' of similar alarms that proved to have been overblown.   In the late 1980s, the National Science Foundation predicted a vast looming short-fall of scientists and engineers -- a prediction followed almost immediately by large-scale lay-offs and plummeting incomes.   The evidence offered for the current shortage -- basically, the testimony of a sampling of hiring managers -- is hardly rigorous, say critics...   a 1993 national survey of college alumni, which showed that only a fifth of the computer-science graduates who started out in the profession were still in it 20 years later.   (The comparable figure for civil engineers was 52%.)   Confirming the trend, he adds, are more recent U.S. census data, which show a strikingly high unemployment rate of 17% among information-technology workers over the age of 50.   (By contrast, unemployment among professionals over 50 as a whole is around 2%.)...   In an era of convulsive change, Americans have sought comfort in 2 survival strategies: higher education with the accent on science and technology, and a lifelong readiness to adapt.   In the software industry, there is widespread agreement that careers tend to be short-lived, and, especially in software-development companies, that employers are exceedingly reluctant to take on people who don't already have exactly the right 'skill set'...   Critics suggest that if the industry wants to be more alluring, it might do better to start with what Maryfran Johnson, the executive editor of Computerworld, calls its disposable-employee mentality...   Because careers tend to be short, he argues, even the spectacular-seeming salaries of Silicon Valley stars aren't nearly as impressive as they appear.   These issues, which have yet to figure very much in the thinking of college students choosing a field to major in, tend to hit some programmers with a jolt soon after they make the transition into the work world.   'As a student on the outside looking in, you hear the rumors of big bucks.', says a 27-year-old Hewlett-Packard engineer.   'What they don't talk about is how long you get them for.'...   two years after getting his master's degree in computer science, he was told that a special exception would have to be made to hire him, because the position had been slotted for a recent college graduate...   'First there's [an alleged] shortage -- then people respond, and you get kind of a glut with the particular skill.', the Hewlett-Packard programmer says.   'And then a newer technology comes along and takes its place.   The new skill may not be that hard to learn, but the perception of the industry is that you can't learn it...'...   Critics of the computer industry's labor practices suggest that they can be traced, in part, to the archetype of the obsessed geek working night and day in the garage, or grabbing a few z's in a sleeping bag on the laboratory floor.   Students of this theory find a cause for hope in Gates's widely publicized reveries about marriage and fatherhood.   It is only a matter of years, Computer World editor Johnson says, before the industry discovers that a programmer who needs to leave work at 5 to pick up a child from soccer practice just might have something to contribute."

alternate link








Dominique S. Black _ComputerWorld_/_IT Careers_/_Advanced Talent_/_IDG_
Taking Shots at the Alleged IT Labor "Shortage"
alternate link
"Spear-headed by the Information Technology Association of America [ITAA] and supported by the US departments of Commerce, Labor and Education, the convocation called for a variety of initiatives to target, recruit and train more workers for the IT industry...   Top IT professionals are creating intellectual capital, not mere 'labor'...   much of the touted 'labor shortage' is really a cost-control and work-force-retention challenge...   self-employed IT workers and small IT consulting companies aren't counted or worse, are counted as a job opening, even though filled by an IT professional..."

_New York City_
Analysis of the Mayor's Budget for 1999: CUNY Budget
"CUNY's community college operating budget is funded by state aid, city funds, tuition, and fees.   As shown in Figure 3-9, its budget has decreased from $364M in 1989 to $332M in 1998 in inflation adjusted (real) terms.   While the portion of its budget funded by the state remained fairly constant over the period at about 35%, the city share fell from 43% to 23%.   Conversely, the portion covered by tuition rose from 22% to 42%.   This increased reliance on tuition caused CUNY to have the highest tuition of community colleges in major urban areas for the 1997-98 school year, according to the College Board..."

William Branigan _Washington Post_ pg A2
Lack of Tech Workers Disputed: Flaws Weaken Reports Claiming Shortage GAO Critique Says
"Critics, including labor advocates and some administration officials, say the H1-B program has been widely abused.   High-tech employers tout it as vital in recruiting the world's 'best and brightest'.   But it is more commonly used to hire entry-level computer programmers in conditions resembling indentured servitude, since these employees are bound by the program to the company that petitions for them, the critics say.   They say the industry loves the program mainly because, by increasing the supply of workers in a key sector, it helps hold down wages in a tight market."




1998-03-26 11:59EST
George Leopold _TechWire_/_EE Times_
GAO Report Casts Doubt on Worker Shortages
"The GAO audit supports the view of some engineering groups, which have maintained that warnings of an IT worker shortage are over-blown...   'Commerce's report has serious analytical and methodological weaknesses that undermine the credibility of its conclusion.', the GAO concluded...   The GAO also faulted the Commerce report for failing to 'adequately describe the likely supply of IT workers'.   For example, it excluded college graduates with degrees in areas other than computer and information sciences.   Auditors cited National Science Foundation estimates that only 25% of those employed in the IT industry in 1993 had computer or information-sciences degrees."






Rachel Beck _abc News_
Consumer Confidence Lags: Indicator Drops in March After Best Showing in 29 Years
"The revised consumer confidence figure for February was the highest since 1969 June, when it hit 137.9."

"We are what we do, not what we say we do..." --- Janio Valenta





1998-04-03 20:23PST (1998-04-03 23:45EST) (1998-04-04 04:45GMT)
Robert Bellinger & George Leopold _EE Times_
Engineers protest as work-visa bill clears first hurdle
"Silicon Valley employers applauded the vote, which would open the door to visas for more over-seas workers at a time when the job market is wide open.   But top engineering groups said the move threatens jobs as further signs emerge of an impending economic down-turn.   Ironically, the bill passed 2 days after one high-tech company, Adaptec Inc. (Milpitas, CA), announced it was laying off 7% of its work force (200 to 250 workers) in response to what Grant Saviers, chief executive, called 'turmoil in the personal-computer industry'.   Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-MI), sponsor of the bill...   Reed fears the opposite action-that immigrant engineers will displace older, more expensive American professionals."






Robert Bellinger _EE Times_
EE unemployment still under 1%
"rumors of hiring freezes and a few lay-offs in the electronics industry have surfaced recently...   Less than 1% of EEs and less than 2% of engineers overall said they were out of work in the first quarter of 1998, according to Robert Rivers, editor of the _Engineering Manpower_ news-letter, based in Orange, Mass.
  Rivers estimated that about 676K EEs were employed in the first calendar quarter of 1998, vs. last year's average of 649K, which calculates as an unemployment rate of 0.8%.   That's higher than the fourth quarter's rate of 0.4%, but is below 1997's 0.9% annual average...
  In the first quarter, 1.44M people listed themselves [as computer scientists or systems analysts] in Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) surveys, up 172K over the previous quarter...
  The number of programmers dropped from 666K in the fourth quarter to 560K in the following first quarter.   Despite that fall, only 1.5% of programmers reported being unemployed in the first quarter, along with 1.1% of computer scientists...
  Overall, 1.7% of engineers in all disciplines told BLS that they lacked work last quarter, up slightly from last year's 1.45% annual average."








Ken Davidson _Agora Outlook_
Davidson's View: Unemployment compensation insurance claims jumped last week to highest level in 3 months
"New claims for jobless benefits jumped unexpectedly by [a seasonally adjusted] 14K last week to their highest level in 3 months.   The Labor Department said first-time applications for state unemployment insurance benefits rose to 316K in the week ended April 10, up from a revised 302K in the prior week, and well above analysts' expectations of 292K.   Claims were at their highest since January 9 when they stood at 358K.   Last week's figure also marked the end of the longest run in more than 25 years of claims coming in under the key 300K mark.   Claims had remained below 300K, a sign of a thriving job market, from January 30 through March 27, the longest stretch since 1972 July 22 through 1973 December 15.   The level of initial claims, which gives an early reading on the resilience of the labor market, had fluctuated in a narrow range of 284K to 302K for 11 weeks, adding to a picture of a robust economy churning out new jobs.   The claims figures were consistent with other reports showing confident consumers, buoyed by a booming stock market and ample job opportunities, were still supporting the economy in its ninth year of unbroken expansion since the last recession in 1990-91.   Continued claims, filed by people who already qualify for state jobless benefits, rose to 2.22M for the week ended April 3, the latest for which that data is available.   The closely watched 4-week moving average of initial claims, another reliable barometer of labor market trends, also rose to 300,500 in the week ended April 10, up from 296,250 in the prior week."


1998-04-17 08:48PST (11:48EST) (16:48GMT)
Robert Bellinger _EE Times_
Work-force Reductions May Signal End Of Hiring Boom
"The first quarter unemployment rate for electronic engineers remained less than 1%, though it was up to 0.9% from the previous quarter's minuscule, 0.4% rate.   Jobless rates for programmers and computer scientists remained well below 2%.   But Robert A. Rivers, editor of the _Engineering Manpower Newsletter_, in Orange, MA, said he is forecasting a rise in engineering unemployment by the third quarter.   Rivers said the dollar's rise against Asian currency will cut American exports, and added that any decline in exports typically results in higher unemployment about 5 calendar quarters later.   He said the lag occurs because many export orders are long-term and lock in the currency rate...
  In testimony before the Senate in February, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers-USA president John Reiner reminded law-makers that in the late 1980s, 'rather than... projected shortages, surpluses developed, and unemployment among engineers, scientists, and other white-collar workers grew to unprecedented levels'."

1998 April
_Le Monde diplomatique_
Jobs: it's all only make-believe
"According to the OECD, American temporary employment agencies are having a field day, with the number of job-seekers on their books rising from 400K at the end of 1982 to 1.3M in 1990 and to 2.1M in 1995.   In the United Kingdom, this type of work has also expanded rapidly since 1992 and now accounts for 7% of the working population (OECD Economic Studies 1996)...   In the US, annual working time has increased by the equivalent of 1 month since the 1970s.   According to the Wall Street Journal (1996-08-05), some car workers work an 84-hour week!   To make up for their fall in income, 7.9M Americans are forced to take on several jobs (in the UK, 1.3M people have 2 jobs)."





Patrick J. Buchanan
Computer Braceros: H-1B

_House Judiciary Sub-Committee on Immigration & Claims_
testimony of Borjas, Fraser, Hatano, Joyner, Laviviere, Matloff, Miller, Payson, Reynolds, Smith, Sullivan, Vernez
Joyner, GAO: National Science Foundation found that only 25% of those currently working in computer and information science jobs actually had degrees in those particular fields.   Many people who work in these fields have degrees in other areas and have taken additional training to expand their skills and their qualifications for this work...
Lofgren: So I zoomed up Lawrence Expressway, and I found the building, and it was Suite 201 in this building.   There is no way you could fit 600 people in that building.   And I thought to myself what is going on here?   So this is the question...   Is your problem or the concern about the main line employers that we know are on this list, the Oracles or the Intels, who are chasing talent, or is it the temporary agencies that really use huge numbers of these visas?   If it is the temporary agencies, then I am struggling to understand why, given the tools you currently have, you cannot address the issue.   For example, let's look at the attestation.   You need to attest.   But how can you possibly attest if you have a mail drop and you are applying for 500 visas?   The mailman could tell you there is fraud involved...
Fraser, USDoL ESA WHD: not just in the "IT" field, but in the health care field as well.   And that is that there are an awful lot of employers who are in the body business, they are in the people business, using this program to bring in a large number of foreign temporary workers to lease out, contract out, to other employers.   Whether the companies' names that you recognize, to what extent the companies who you recognize on that list, unlike the Mastechs and the Syntels and the Tata Consultancies [TCS] and so on, which are job contractors, they are bodyshops...
Matloff: There is no desperate software labor shortage, period.   You can see that, for example, from the low hiring rates in the industry.   Typically it is 2%.   It doesn't matter whether it is a big company or small company, they are only hiring 2% of their applicants for software positions.   There is no way you can square that with desperation.   The employers say they are desperate.   If they were desperate, they just could not be that picky.   And if you call any employer, which I invite you to do, all of them will admit they get tons of resumes, but they throw most of them away without even an interview. Again, if they were desperate, they would give every resume royal treatment...   The number of H–1B visas given to the computer professionals went up 352% from 1990 to 1995, while the number of jobs only went up by 35%.   IOW, the growth rate in H–1Bs is 10 times the growth rate in jobs...   Moreover, the industry claims of a labor shortage are even more strongly contradicted by the fact that even among applicants who have the skills demanded by picky employers, few are made offers...   As a result, most careers in the programming field are short-lived. Below are data, extracted from the National Survey of College Graduates in 1993, showing the percentage of computer science graduates working in software development various numbers of years after they finish school:
Years after Earning Bachelor's DegreePer Cent Working as Programmers
Five years after finishing college, about 60% of computer science graduates are working as programmers; at 15 years the figure drops to 34%, and at 20 years—when most are still only age 42 or so—it is down to 19%.   Clearly part of this attrition is voluntary, but most are forced to seek other work when they see the hand-writing on the cubicle wall: Employers do not want to hire mid-career programmers.   As noted earlier, because people who cannot find programming work leave the field, unemployment statistics for programmers are meaningless.   The former programmer who becomes an insurance agent counts in government statistics as an employed insurance seller, not an unemployed programmer, so unemployment rates do not give an accurate picture of the employers' general refusal to hire the mid-career workers.   Nevertheless, it is significant that there was a high 17% unemployment rate for programmers over age 50 as of August 1997.(see footnote 35 [1998-01-12 Computerworld This was questioned by reporter Miranda Ewell, San Jose Mercury News, 1998 April 5, who said that such information is not available, and who gave other statistics which, though not exactly measuring the same quantity as in the Computerworld article, seemed to be at odds with it.   However, I have checked with the author of the Computerworld article, Laura DiDio, who explained that she doggedly went through call after call to the BLS to get the exact information she wanted, and she finally did find someone who was able to provide it.])   As a stroll around any high-tech company will show you, most people who work in this field are young.   It should be noted that other technical fields do not show this rapid decline of work in their field.   For example, consider civil engineering majors.   Six years after graduation, 61% of them are working as civil engineers, and 20 years after graduation, the rate is still 52%...   It is crucial to keep in mind that the plight of the mid-career programmer cannot be solved simply by the programmer taking some refresher courses in the new software skills.   Even if a programmer takes a course in, say, the new Java programming language and then applies for a job requiring Java, employers will still not hire him or her.   As noted by software employment agent Maryann Rousseau, "Taking a course is just not going to work for a senior person, given his salary."   Why hire a newly-retrained but more expensive 40-year-old when a newly-trained cheap new graduate is available?...   most firms recruit at only a few colleges...   This point on the quickness with which new software technologies are learned can be seen in data on factors affecting completion time for software development projects, cited in one of the central works on software engineering, _Software Engineering Economics_, by Barry Boehm (Prentice-Hall, 1981, p.530).   Those data indicate that programmers reach perhaps 80% of their full productivity level by one month, and full productivity by the next time period studied, four months...
Payson: 30M Americans over 50 want to work.   63% want to work because they are bored, want to be useful, or their spouse has said, "Out of the house, or else!"   37% want to work because they need the money.   85% are willing to work in part-time, temporary, interim or contract positions.   27% are willing to work on commission.   83% prefer telecommuting to on-site employment...   the professional workforce over 50 is far more flexible and innovative than the employers themselves...   who, I my opinion, are as dead set against change as the old monarchies of Europe.   For instance, despite the fact that 83% of our data-base is ready, willing and able to telecommute... and the technology is here in place right now to do it... not a single Year 2000 employer will even consider telecommuting.   They'll ship their data half way around the world to New Delhi... but not to Denver, or Boise, or Phoenix... where the old pros of America are standing by, ready to help...   1. Foreign workers are cheaper.   2. Foreign workers are easier to hoodwink.   3. Foreign workers are so anxious to come to America that they willingly accept long hours, high pressure and minimum benefits...
Lariviere: My testimony is given on behalf of the University of Texas as representative of the nation's higher education community, and has been endorsed by the American Council on Education, the Association of American Universities, the College and University Personnel Association, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the Council of Graduate Schools, and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges.   The combined memberships of these associations represent over 2K colleges and universities across the country...   We are swamped with people who want to get into our schools...   The second problem we face is the prevailing wage issue.   The OES numbers we get back are routinely grotesquely higher than what our markets require.   In my formal testimony, I give you several examples.   I could have given you 10 times that many examples of instances when we have offered people anywhere from $30K to $40K less than the OES said we should be paying them...
Matloff: The major issue is that people leave the field when they fail to get programming work and thus don't show up in the unemployment data... the older an employee gets, the more they find themselves shunned.







_The Scientist_
More Post-Docs, Fewer Tenured Posts
"The rise in unemployment rates for Ph.D.s 45 and older in the 1993 population...   Post-doc positions have become more prevalent.   Fewer tenure-track positions exist in academia.   Universities hire more part-time adjuncts as lecturers.   Industry employs more Ph.D. scientists than academia does.   Firms now restructure, merge and down-size with frightening frequency.   Employment in fields such as biotechnology are often associated with cyclical economic trends as well as the vagaries of the investment community and uncertain federal grant money (Richard N. Zare 1998-01-05 _The Scientist_, 12[1]:10)...
  In 1973, the unemployment rate for doctorates was 0.9% for men and 3.9% for women; in 1993, it was 1.6% for men and 1.8% for women...   The 1973 unemployment rate ranged from 1.0% for Ph.D.s under 35 to 1.4% for Ph.D.s 65 years and older.   The 1993 rate ranges from 1.1% for Ph.D.'s under 35 and grows to 4.2% for Ph.D.s over 65.   The differences between the two studies becomes statistically significant at the 45-54 age category.   At that point, the 1973 figures show 1.1% unemployment, while the 1993 rate is at about 1.5%.   The gap increases at the 55-64 age category, with the 1973 rate at about 1.2%, while the 1993 rate climbs to about 2.1%.  [source: NSF]...
  Norm Matloff, professor of computer science at the University of California at Davis, asserts that this scenario is most prevalent in the computer science industry.   Matloff, who has received a good deal of publicity for raising the age-discrimination issue, including an editorial in The New York Times (N. Matloff 1998-01-26 page 19).   He has written a report, 'Debunking the Myth of a Desperate Software Labor Shortage', charging that programmers over 50 face a 17% unemployment rate, despite employers claiming to be desperate to hire.   The NSF report supports his view, he says, and also extends the claim by hinting that age discrimination is creeping into other scientific sectors.   Matloff agrees that in the software industry especially, the higher rates of unemployment among older workers isn't about lack of skill, it's about saving money.   'Employers are doing what comes naturally.', Matloff asserts."

David Cay Johnston _NY Times_
How a Tax Law Helps Insure a "Scarcity" of Programmers
"the I.R.S. has recently stepped up its enforcement of the law in a way that effectively kills start-up programming businesses if their only employee is the founder...   The law generally excludes programmers from statutes giving employers some flexibility to use independent contractors.   The law was estimated to raise $60M over 5 years...   That was enough money to pay for a tax break, approved with Mr. Moynihan's support, that was sought by I.B.M. for its over-seas operations."

Lady Marian Fitzwalter: Why, you speak treason!
Sir Robin of Locksley: Fluently.




Mike Gallagher & Cameron McWhirter _Cincinnati Enquirer_
Chiquita Secrets: Chiquita sued in response to alleged kidnap plot






Saad Shafqat _Chowk_
The Foreign Under-Class in American Medicine




_Council on Hemispheric Affairs_
Chiquita Banana skullduggery

job cuts doubled
"Job cuts for April more than doubled from March, the out-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported last week.   The firm attributed the rise to corporate expansion tied to the booming economy.   As companies expand in one area, the firm said, they often cut in the areas that do not show as much promise.   Job cuts for April totaled 48,758, compared with 23,028 in March, Challenger said.   The latest month's job cuts are 220% above year-ago figures. (The Washington Post May 10, page H4)."


William Branigin _Washington Post_ pg A7
H-1B ceiling increase
"In the House, a bill sponsored by representative Lamar S. Smith (R-TX) would raise the ceiling to 95K this year, 105K in 1999 and 115K in 2000, then revert to the current 65K limit...   Critics of both bills say the problem is not a shortage of high-tech workers, but a preference by companies for imported workers or recent US college graduates because they have more up-to-date skills and are willing to accept lower entry salaries and longer working hours.   These critics say a 17% unemployment rate among computer programmers over age 50, lay-offs by high-tech companies and no marked jump in salary levels indicate that no acute labor shortage exists.   Meanwhile, the health-care industry and local governments complain that the debate over high-tech workers has over-shadowed a critical need for foreign doctors [also covered under the H-1B provision] in federally designated 'under-served areas'..."

Carlotta C. Joyner
GAO report on Information Technology Employment
"US Department of Commerce prepared a report intended to bring attention to the issue and to encourage stake-holders to examine the potential for shortages and to take the necessary steps to ensure an adequate supply of IT workers.   That report, issued 1997 September 29, is titled _America's New Deficit: The Shortage of Information Technology Workers_.   Our evaluation of the report found that, although the title implied that the Department of Commerce found a shortage of IT workers, data and analysis contained in the report did not support that conclusion.   In fact, the report concludes, and we agree, that more information and data are needed to characterize the IT labor market...
  Information on unemployment rates for IT workers and numbers of workers employed in IT occupations came from the Current Population Survey (CPS) of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).   The number of workers employed by IT companies comes from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) Survey and is compiled by BLS from pay-roll records reported monthly.   Information on the number and types of IT degrees conferred came from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).   Information on the salaries offered to bachelor's degree candidates was provided by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)."








1998-05-18 18:00PDT (1998-05-18 21:00EDT) (1998-05-19 01:00GMT)
Courtney Macavinta _CNET_/_ZD Net_
Senate approves increase in already excessive guest-worker visas
"Boosting the number of foreign workers U.S. firms can hire each year to 90K, the Senate voted 78 to 20 to pass the American Competitiveness Act today...   Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), for example, introduced an amendment to fine companies up to $25K for failing to search for a U.S. worker before filling a slot with a foreign employee.   '[75%] of these jobs pay $75K or less [per year].   These are good jobs for Americans.', Kennedy argued in favor of the amendment.   'We are saying, Make sure you offer it to an American before you hire a foreigner.'"









Glenn Gamboa & Melanie Payne "Knight-Ridder News Papers"
(reprinted in 1998-05-27 "US Feels Effects as Females Shun Science, Math, High Tech Careers" _FSView_ vol 7 #14 pg 1)
"US technology companies say they have close to 350K jobs that cannot be filled because there are not enough qualified applicants."
(pg 4)
"Gavin Ramsey... the technical recruiter for Software Answers Inc. in Akron, goes through hundreds of resumes each week just to find a few new candidates for the consulting & training firm.   Like practically every technology-based company these days, Software Answers has a hard time filling its openings...   'we are so focused on finding a good person, regardless of their gender or ethnic background, we are pretty blind to anything else.'"





Rebecca Lynn Eisenberg _SF Examiner_
High-Tech Workers
alternative link
author's site
"Perhaps most nefariously, as programmers grow older, their job security plummets.   Any stroll through a high-tech company reveals that the work force is very young.   Norm Matloff, computer science professor at UC-Davis, confirmed this common observation in an an April report: 5 years after finishing college, about 60% of computer science graduates are working as programmers; at 15 years the figure drops to 34%, and at 20 years it's a mere 19%.   Personal testimonials are even more powerful than the statistics...   Most software companies classify programmers and systems analysts with 6 years of experience as senior even though they usually are no older than 28...   And while unemployment rates for older workers are high -- 17% for programmers over age 50 as of August, Matloff said, the numbers tell only part of the story...
  Because contingent workers now comprise 27%-40% of the Silicon Valley work force (and growing), according to the National Planning Association in Washington, DC, the Central Labor Council is upgrading its services to serve them better."

1998 May
Bridget Murray _American Psychological Association Monitor_
Notion of a life-long career is now a thing of the past: APA convention will focus on new work patterns
"The psychologist who spends a life-time seeing patients in the same practice is no longer the norm.   Neither is the psychology professor who settles on a university after graduate school and stays there through retirement.   More than ever before, psychologists are working part time, juggling several job roles and consulting for different organizations...   According to Leong they spring from cost-cutting in the private and public sectors, a rise in self-employment and more competition for jobs brought on by increasing numbers of women and minorities in the work-place.   In higher education, to meet greater demands for education and training among a broader population of students, universities are hiring more part-time faculty while tenure-track positions remain stable or decline.   In fact, the number of faculty working part time in higher education doubled between 1970 and 1995, from 22% to 41%, according to a March report from the U.S. Department of Education.   Psychologists in every work setting are seeing a rising demand for applied research, technical skills and advanced education along with diminishing job security and full-time work, says labor economist Barbara Wiens-Tuers, a doctoral candidate at the University of California-Riverside who teaches at California State University-San Bernardino...   Leong advises against resignedly accepting contingent work and other unjust employment, but he also believes that progress can emerge from the angst and upheaval."

1998 May
Doron Tal _Stop Abuse of Power_
The H-1B "Crisis"

1998 May
Philip Martin _Migration News_
Foreign-Born Populations, Green Cards, Asylum, Foreign Investors, Food Stamps, H-1Bs...
"The number of temps in the US economy has increased from 800K in 1986 to 2.5M in 1997."

1998 May
Marianne A. Ferber & Jane Waldfogel _Monthly Labor Review_
The long-term consequences of bodyshopping
"Lower pay of former temporary employees and higher pay of men formerly self-employed are likely caused by unobserved heterogeneity.   Nonetheless, in wage growth models that eliminate this bias, past part-time work has a negative effect on current wages, which varies with gender and whether the part-time status was voluntary or involuntary.   This article explores the question of whether workers who voluntarily choose non-traditional employment will eventually suffer serious deprivation as a result."

"I just like being free.   It's not about exhibitionism." --- Drew Barrymore 1995-06-13 _People_


Gene Kimmelman _Consumers Union_
Let's blast opn local telecomm monopolies





27,631 lay-offs were announced in May
"U.S. companies announced 27,631 job cuts in May, continuing a trend that is likely to result in a half-million announced job reductions by year's end, the out-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said... (Daily Labor Report, page A-2)   Job cuts decreased 76% from a month earlier.   Despite the decline, the total number of job cuts for this year is surpassing that of last year... (Washington Post page D2)."






Surge in merger-related lay-offs
"A surge in merger-related lay-offs in the past 2 months could foreshadow an economic slow-down, according to a report issued by Challenger, Gray and Christmas.   More than 16K job cuts related to mergers and acquisitions were announced in April and May, reversing last year's worker-hoarding trend, the international outplacement firm said (Washington Post page C14)."


John Mintz _Washington Post_
NSC Papers Trace Red China Waiver Concerns
related stories
"Months after denouncing President George Bush in 1992 for coddling 'familiar tyrants' in Beijing, newly inaugurated President Clinton endorsed his predecessor's policy in 1993 by approving deals with Red China to launch US-made satellites...   The president has waved through every satellite export to Red China that was ever presented to him after aides laid out the national security risks and explained the number of US jobs the deals [might] help create, the documents show...   The NSC documents contain no mention of political donations or party affiliation, although they do recount domestic political considerations raised by Clinton's advisers.   Republicans have suggested that Clinton's motive for granting launch approval to Loral this year was that its CEO is Bernard Schwartz, the Democrats' biggest individual donor in 1995-1996 [but appear equally guilty on that score]."


Bryan T. Johnson _Heritage Foundation_
US Foreign Aid & UN Voting Records
"India, the fifth-largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid and receiving some $144M in assistance in FY1998, voted against the United States 80% of the time.   This marked an increase from 76% in the 1996 session.   Thus, India voted against the United States in the U.N. more than Iran, Libya, and Myanmar.   Despite U.S. urging, moreover, India recently embarked on a series of nuclear weapons tests that threaten U.S. strategic and security interests in the region.   [Tables show India having received $143.699M in 1997 and again in 1998 in foreign aid from the USA.]"





Diane E. Lewis _Boston Globe_
Glut of Scientists & Engineers
"But a growing number of unemployed and under-employed older high-tech workers tell a different story...   In Massachusetts, the American Scientists Association has drawn up a petition against efforts to increase foreign visas...
  'The data that have been used to document the so-called shortage are extremely weak data, almost useless data.', said New York demographer Michael Teitelbaum, former vice chairman of the US Commission on Immigration Reform.   In fact, the General Accounting Office in March said a government study had failed to substantiate a shortage of computer workers...
  A 1993 survey of college alumni showed that 20 years after graduating, only one-fifth of those who began their careers as computer professionals were still in the industry.   In support of the argument, Matloff, the California professor, points to recent US Census Bureau statistics showing an unemployment rate of 17% for information technology workers over age 50, compared with a scant 2% for all professionals 50 and older...
  Bard-Alan Finlan holds a degree in computer engineering from the University of California at San Diego, as well as degrees in music and theology.   'The industry says it wants the most recent skills, the hot skills, Java, for example.', said Finlan, 43, who works as a temporary senior technician.   'But I could learn Java within a month.   I've sent out 200 resumes over the past 15 months, but I can't find a full-time job.'...   His annual salary?   $36K."


Ed Timms & Jayne Noble Suhler _Dallas Morning News_
High-tech lay-offs cited in visa fight: Bid for foreign workers unrelated, executives say
"More than 121K American workers have been laid off by prominent high-tech or 'high-tech dependent' companies at a time when industry officials are clamoring for more foreign workers, a key congressman said Tuesday...
  high-tech industry officials turned out in force in Washington to lobby for the higher cap...   High-tech companies warn that if they can't bring more foreign workers to fill jobs in this country, they may be forced to move operations over-seas...   In the last 6 months, he said, prominent companies that hire large numbers of engineers and other high-tech workers 'have laid off more Americans... than the number of new temporary foreign workers called for by House legislation during the next 3 years'.   He said the list of companies he released Tuesday is not comprehensive, but a 'good sampling'.   The source of the list was Challenger, Grey and Christmas, a Chicago-based firm that tracks work-force trends...   Sandy Boyd, director of employment policy for the National Association of Manufacturers [NAM], said that people who are laid off 'will be absorbed very quickly into this economy...   if they have good skills and they're well-educated'.
  Paul Kostek, president-elect of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers [IEEE], said high-tech workers who are middle-aged - at least by industry standards - are hardest hit.   'We're seeing people in their late 30s, 40s, 50s who are having difficulty finding positions.', he said.   He added that younger workers and foreign workers are often cheaper and seen by corporations as being more flexible and easier to relocate.   Cynthia Walsh's 43-year-old husband, a physicist with a doctorate, has moved 5 times since 1993 in search of a good job opportunity.   Companies find foreign workers to be a cheaper and more 'compliant' source of labor than Americans..."

Jeri Clausing _UWisc Benton Communications Policy_
Debate Over H-1B Guest-Worker Visas Focuses on Lay-Offs
NY Times
"Figures compiled by the Chicago-based employment firm Challenger, Grey and Christmas show that prominent high-tech companies dismissed 121,800 workers from 1997 December to 1998 June.   U.S. representative Lamar Smith pointed out yesterday that these numbers indicate that these well-known companies have laid off more American workers in the past six months than the number of temporary foreign workers that information technology companies are lobbying to bring in over the next 3 years."







1998-06-23 (5758 Sivan 29)
Linda Chavez _Jewish World Review_
Blinded by the red, or is it the green?
"Since Clinton became president, Red China has been caught selling the technology that enabled Pakistan to build nuclear bombs, perhaps the very ones Pakistan recently tested, not to mention peddling missile parts to terrorist nations like Iran and North Korea.   Chinese Communist officials have tried to influence the outcome of US elections, including the president's own re-election, by funneling money into Democratic campaign coffers in violation of US law.   Red Chinese companies have ruthlessly pirated American compact discs and laser disks, cheating US companies and performers out of millions of dollars.   [Red Chinese] officials have continued to suppress human rights among Chinese citizens, including persecuting Christians in China and Buddhists in Tibet.   And Red China has belligerently menaced the Taiwanese [Republic of China], with whom the United States maintains security agreements, by firing test missiles across the straits that separate the mainland from the islands...   China is riddled with bad debt -- the very problem that set off the current Asian economic crisis -- with an estimated 25% to 30% of all bank loans likely never to be repaid.   Unemployment is rising, reaching 30% in the industrial northeast and causing dangerous unrest. Skyscrapers look impressive from the outside but are empty.   And none of the problems Red China faces is likely to get better so long as the country is ruled by autocrats, who may have abandoned communist economic theories, substituting corruption and greed, but have kept their authoritarian instincts."





_AP_/_NY Times_
Asian Woes Threaten USA Economy




Aaron Bernstein & Steve Hamm _Business Week_
Is there really a techie shortage?
"Don't tell Steve D. Schultz about Silicon Valley's labor crunch.   The 48-year-old programmer spent 5 years designing software for a large drug-maker.   Then last year the company brought in a junior programmer from Taiwan at half the $160K Schultz earned as a contract employee.   In November, the drug-maker didn't renew Schultz's contract.   For 4 months, he searched for a job but turned up nothing, even at far lower pay.   Finally, in April, his former employer called him back -- still as a temp -- to train his replacement.   'The computer industry isn't begging for workers.', says Schultz.   'It's looking for 20-year-olds who will put in 80-hour weeks or people from over-seas who will be captives at one company.'...   employment has jumped only for the highest-skilled computer scientists, not programmers or systems analysts -- jobs that often go to immigrants on high-skills visas.   Nor are shortages driving pay into the stratosphere.   'There's no evidence that the computer industry has worse labor shortages than other high-skilled industries.', says American University economics professor Robert I. Lerman.   High tech may feel the pinch more acutely, say Lerman and others, because it's structured differently and relies on temporary employees [bodyshopping] more heavily than other industries do...   A severe short-fall would [hopefully] push employers to offer permanent posts to keep temps [bodies shopped] from taking other jobs.   Indeed, 'if there really was a labor shortage, someone would hire me full- time.', says Robert J. Wade, a systems analyst in Indianapolis with a masters in industrial engineering.   Wade, 35, says he has sought permanent jobs around the country but only gets offers for half the $60K he makes now.   Even by the traditional measure of pay patterns, though, high tech isn't showing classic signs of a crunch.   The ranks of computer scientists, for example, have tripled since 1988, but their weekly pay beat inflation by just 4.4% since then and by 1% in 1997, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).   Systems analysts and programmers have done better.   Their real weekly pay climbed by 4.3% and 6.7%, respectively, in 1997.   But that pales compared with other types of workers: Surveyors beat inflation by 20% and dietitians by 17%, according to the BLS.   Programmers' pay has lagged inflation by 1.5% since 1988.   'If employers were desperate, they'd be willing to pay more.', says Norm Matloff, a computer science professor at the University of California at Davis.   Critics argue that age discrimination helps fuel the shortage...   Industry officials deny any age discrimination, but they admit they like recent grads..."

1998 June
Jeffrey L. Seglin _Inc._
The 1998 Inc./Gallup Work-Force Survey
"By the end of 1995, corporate lay-offs had resulted in the loss of 440K jobs, and by 1996 March, the New York Times had launched its seven-day-long, Pulitzer-chasing (but not -winning) screed on the plight of the beleaguered U.S. worker.   Very authoritative stuff -- even if by that juncture in the media's coverage of down-sizing, the Times was just piling it on.   The work-place, by all accounts, was filled with fear and anger...
  In the United States, 82% of workers said they had the opportunity to do what they do best every day.   In Japan and Germany, by comparison, recent surveys yielded responses of 65% and 64%, respectively, to the same question.
  In the United States, 84% of workers claimed they had the opportunity to learn and grow on the job.   In Germany, only 68% did...
  Sure, unemployment rates are down to 4.6%, but down-sizing is hotter than ever.   In January alone, 72,193 jobs were cut, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the Chicago-based out-placement company that tracks such numbers.   That's up from the 58,293 that were cut in 1997 December, and far more than the 43,595 jobs that were cut in 1997 January...   nearly three-quarters (74%) of workers think they're fairly paid...   64% said their company CEO's compensation was fair..."

1998 June
Joseph E. Fallon _American Renaissance_
Waging War on America
Jared Taylor
How New Americans Are Made
James P. Lubinskas
Reconquista!: We Have Been Warned
Thomas Jackson
review of Lee Silver _Remaking Eden_

1998 June
top 500 fastest super computers LinPack bench-mark (rated in giga Floating-point Operations / second)

1998 Spring
Deirdre Blake 1998 Spring _Dr. Dobb's Journal_
Programming Jobs
"A recently released study by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) & Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech) predicts that IT worker shortages will be even more severe over the coming years.   According to ITAA/Virginia Tech findings, the current 'core' IT work-force -- programmers, systems analysts, & computer engineers -- is about 3.354M.   Approximately 10%, or 346K, of positions are open today.   This is a significant difference from the ITAA's 1997 IT worker study, which showed 190K IT vacancies a year ago.   Furthermore, the 1998 study indicates that shortages exist throughout the US, with comparable vacancy rates across geographic regions."

"The analogy of government to a parent demonstrates only the childishness of the people who entertain the analogy." --- Herbert Spencer


Bruce Bartlett _Cato Institute_
The Truth about Trade in History (with graphs)
Free Trade
"The infamous Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1930 was the last outrage inflicted by the Republican protectionists.   Rates on dutiable imports rose to their highest levels in over 100 years.   Increases of 50% were common and some rates went up 100%.   [Figure 1] indicates how much tariffs increased during the 1920s [and 1930s] as a result of both the Fordney-McCumber and Smoot-Hawley tariffs.   A recent analysis estimates that the Smoot-Hawley tariff, on average, doubled the tariffs over those in the Underwood Act.   [Mario J. Crucini, "Sources of Variation in Real Tariff Rates: The United States, 1900-1940" _American Economic Review_ vol84 #3 (1994 June): 737.]"








54,914 job cuts were announced in June
"U.S. companies reported 54,914 job cuts in June, a 99% increase from job cuts in May, according to the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.   Job cuts for the first 6 months of this year totaled 270,443, a 46% increase over the first half of last year... (Daily Labor Report, page A-9)   June was 1998's second highest month for job cuts; the January total was 72K.... (Wall Street Journal 'Work Week' column, page A1)"

George Rostky _EE Times_
History of drum and disk drives (from Ill-Begotten Monstrosities POV)
Disk Trend
"The disk drive, in fact, was a successor to the magnetic-drum drive, and both go back to the early 1950s at Engineering Research Associates.   That company, with Eckert-Mauchly, was merged into Remington Rand to become Remington Rand Univac [and later spun off Control Data Corporation, and later still Cray Research].   In 1956, the Univac operation in St. Paul, MN, was ready to bring a disk drive to market.   But for political reasons, it didn't.   Univac in Philadelphia wanted to stick with 18-inch drums.   And Philadelphia had more clout.   The city was the heart of computer activity because of the fact that it was there, at the University of Pennsylvania, that J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, senior people at Univac, had developed the pioneering ENIAC computer in 1946."






Ron Paul _Ron Paul Library_
Paul legislation will stop national ID kkkard
"Such is the case with an obscure section of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.   This section authorizes the federal Department of Transportation to establish national requirements for birth certificates and drivers' licenses.   The provision, a small part of a major piece of legislation passed at the end of the 104th Congress, represents an unprecedented power grab by the federal government and a threat to the liberties of every American, for it would essentially transform state drivers' licenses into national ID cards."






1998-07-17 20:45PDT (1998-07-17 23:45EDT) (1998-07-18 03:34GMT)
Robert Bellinger _EE Times_
In lay-offs' wake, unemployment hits 2% for EEs
"Robert A. Rivers, editor of Engineering Manpower news-letter here, estimates 2.2% of EEs, or 14K, were unemployed in the second quarter -- more than double the 6K total in the first quarter, when the jobless rate was 0.8%.   On the flip side, 635K EEs had jobs in the second quarter, vs. last year's overall average of 649K, Rivers calculates.
  More than 35 electronics, semiconductor and aerospace/ defense companies have cut an aggregate 100K jobs since January-some due to lay-offs, some to attrition...
  Extracting his figures from Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers, Rivers noted that electronic engineers are getting hit harder than their peers in other specialties.   Second-quarter unemployment among engineers as a whole was 1.6%, 0.6 percentage points below that of EEs...   Even with the rise, the EE unemployment rate is half that of June's national average of 4.5%.   At one point last year, the EE jobless rate plunged as low as 0.4%...   Some engineering disciplines continue to do very well, Rivers noted, including programmers (1.6%); computer science/systems analysts (1.1% unemployment in the second quarter); and civil engineers (0.2%)."



_UC Davis Magazine_
Computer Industry: Only The Young Need Apply
"A 47-year-old man with extensive experience in computer programming has been searching full time for work in the Silicon Valley for the past 15 months, but has had only 2 formal interviews.   A programmer with 10 years experience has been looking for a job in New York City for over a year and a half with no luck.
  An employment agent representing former defense industry programmers says they are 'usually shunned by the industry.   I get a tremendous number of resumes from them, but I can't place them.'...
  Employers hire only about 2% of their software applicants, Matloff determined after conducting interviews with a number of firms, including MSFT.   That industry giant makes offers to only 25% of the applicants who make it as far as the interview stage.
  Wages haven't increased substantially in the industry either -- the usual out-come when employer demand out-paces supply...   Matloff cites government figures showing that the rate of unemployment among programmers over age 50 is 17% -- a figure that 'actually under-states the problem because many leave the field when they cannot find programming work'.   Some 20 years after receiving a bachelor's degree, only 20% of computer science graduates are still working in the field, according to the 1993 National Survey of College Graduates -- compared to a 52% rate for civil engineering graduates."



Robert A. Rivers American Engineering Association
IT Lay-Off Statistics (with table)
"How any Congressman can be engaged in negotiation away the worker protection provisions in HR3736 staggers the imagination in light of the reality of the below listed massive industry cut-backs.   Instead the negotiations should be to eliminate the H-1B program completely and solve the problem.   Latest updated Cut-back information.   There is an indication that contract personnel cutbacks are not reported.   News reports of cutbacks from SF Examiner, Chronicle and SJ Mercury 1998 as well as Boston Globe and others.   This is just a sampling that is associated with Silicon Valley and other but not comprehensive.   Corrections and additions as reported by Congressman Lamar Smith from Challenger and Gray and now updating on a daily basis starting 1998-06-18."


1998-07-23 11:45PDT (14:45EDT) (18:45GMT)
Margaret Steen _InfoWorld_/_CNN_
Many older IT workers are fishing for jobs despite alleged labor shortage
"Companies say they can't find IT workers who meet their needs -- yet some older IT workers are struggling with their job searches...   In fact, in the 1998 InfoWorld Compensation Survey, which polled more than 2,250 InfoWorld readers, almost 10% of respondents 55 and older reported having moved to a new company in the past year.   Another 11% had moved within the past 2 or 3 years...   older workers are perceived as less willing to work long hours than younger workers...   However, InfoWorld's survey found that the average number of hours worked per week was high but remarkably consistent: 48 hours for every age group...   InfoWorld's survey found that the percent of respondents with at least a bachelor's degree was about the same -- about 75% -- for all age groups...   'I'd love to have somebody with 20 years of experience, but unfortunately I'm only paying for 3 or 4.', says the IT director at a large law firm on the West Coast."

"[C]laims of high-tech worker shortages are inflated, the domestic labor supply is under-stated, & the wisdom of expanding immigration is over-rated..." --- John R. Reinert of IEEE 1998 to congress


"In the last few months, more than 150K jobs have been cut by technology companies & the unemployment rate for electrical engineers has nearly tripled." --- John R. Reinert of IEEE


Robert Pear _NYTimes_
"Whether there is in fact a shortage [or a glut] of high-tech workers is a hotly debated question.   An industry [executive lobbying] group, the Information Technology Association of America [ITAA], says there are 346K openings, amounting to 10% of all US jobs for computer programmers, engineers & systems analysts.   But the Labor Department, the AFL-CIO and several groups representing US engineers say the high-tech industry, trying to hold down its labor costs by hiring from abroad, has over-stated the problem."



Mortimer B. Zuckerman _US News & World Report_
Give us your brainy masses: Talent Shortage Propaganda
"Many more millions have been admitted than anyone envisaged since immigration policy was changed in the 1960s, giving preference to Third World immigrants over immigrants from Europe.   While we can argue about the number of immigrants and their countries of origin, there should be little doubt that America benefits from the skilled people who come here."



1998-07-29 (5758 Av 06)
Walter E. Williams _Jewish World Review_
Education production: Home * School



Dave Skidmore _Abilene Reporter-News_
Wages Going Up: Good for workers, bad for inflation?
"Total compensation increased 3.5% over the 12 months ended in June, the biggest gain in 4.5 years & roughly double the 1.7% increase in consumer prices over the period, the Labor Department said.   It marked an improvement over the 3.3% rise for the 12 months ended in March & the 2.8% increase for the year finished in 1997 June."

1998 July
Michael Rose
Is there a high-tech worker glut or shortage?: A Review of the Evidence (pdf)
"A review of the evidence on the supply and demand for high-skilled IT workers suggests that labor market conditions for this group eroded during the late 1980s and early 1990s."

1998 July
R. Mark Gritz, Terry R. Johnson, Audra Wenzlow & Fred B. Dong
Dynamic Models of UnEmployment Insurance Benefit Receipt: Survival Rate Analysis Report (pdf)
"Previous empirical studies examining the effects of UI [unemployment compensation insurance] policies on unemployment also differ considerably in the way key variables are defined.   Some of these differences are related to the type of data source used in the analysis.   Program data, for example, only contains information on insured unemployment and, as such, studies using these data define unemployment as weeks receiving UI benefits.   This feature of program data precludes the analysis of the effects of UI on other definitions of unemployment, such as the common definition of unemployment used by the Current Population Survey and broader definitions, such as time spent not employed.   Similarly, the nature of survey data also results in differences in the definition of key variables.   For example, survey data generally lack information on UI benefit entitlements and only contain information on the receipt of UI benefits.   Hence, the definitions used in these analyses of the WBA and the PDB are often imputed measures that are constructed using State program characteristics and past information on earnings rather than the actual values for these variables that are available in program data.   Moreover, the definition of unemployment that is used in the analysis of survey data is either total number of weeks individuals are unemployed during a calendar year or the number of weeks between jobs and looking for work, and survey data sets generally do not include enough information to determine insured unemployment."

"Nothing is more terrible than activity without insight." --- Thomas Carlyle




J. Steven Niznik _About_
Predicting & Preparing for Lay-Off







Dave l'Heureux _Times Herald-Record_
Rebuilding life after lay-off
"GB made $50K a year before he lost his job, along with three other inspectors over the age of 55. Now he fears he and his wife could lose their home...   JB is disgusted with the 'Help Wanted' ads he reads every day.   Almost all, he said, offer temporary work at low pay, with little hope of benefits or advancement...   Orange County wages fell 2.25% in 1996-97, and lagged far behind wage scales for the Albany area...   'Another problem is that a lot of people no longer have the safety net of personal savings.', said Linda Dickerson, president of Mid-Hudson Pattern for Progress, which conducted the study.   'Back in the early 1990s, for example, people down-sized from IBM could hang on for maybe 2 or 3 years.   Now people have run up more debt than ever, and their lives and finances are stretched.'...   The firm of Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported last week that U.S. job cuts rose 5% -- from 48,349 to 50,774 -- between 1997 July and last month [1998 July].   The firm attributed some of the cuts to financial troubles abroad..."












"Everyone has the exact same pain.   We have to go through 50 interviews to find a couple of decent people." --- John Pozadzides of GTE (quoted in Diana Kunde 1998-08-20 "Internet Techies Also in Demand at Colleges" _FSView_ pg 6)

Diana Kunde 1998-08-20 _FSView_ pg 6 (quoting Brian Harshaw of Sprint BSG)
Internet Techies Also in Demand at Colleges
"The staffing problem lies in the fact that all this growth is relatively new dating from the emergence of the World Wide Web in the early 1990s, which suddenly made it infinitely easier to use the Internet.   'As far as being a viable industry where people are needed, it's only ~3 years old, since about 1995.   You didn't hear a whole lot about it until then.'"


Doctorates in Computer Science were taking an average of 3 months to find work. --- _AAAS_/_Commission on Professionals in Science & Technology_
Salary & Employment Survey for People with Recent Doctorates in Science and Technology











1998 August
"Every one realizes that economic times are tough & that the number of entry jobs is slim in comparison to experience required jobs.   This group exists to give the fresh-out, recent grad, etc. a chance."
--- Eugene M. Miya 1998-08-?? FAQ_

"No needlewoman, distressed or other, can be procured in London by any housewife to give, for fair wages, fair help in sewing.   Ask any thrifty housemother.   No real needlewoman, 'distressed' or other, has been found attainable in any of the houses I frequent.   Imaginary needlewomen, who demand considerable wages, & have a deepish appetite for beer & viands, I hear of everywhere..."
--- Thomas Carlyle 1850 _Morning Chronicle_
(quoted in E.P. Thompson & Eileen Yeo 1971 _The Unknown Mayhew_,
quoted in Studs Terkel 1972 _Working_ pg xvi)



1998-09-02 09:19PDT (12:19EDT) (16:19GMT)
Executives allege this is the hottest job market in 5 years


Bob Bellinger _EE Times_
IEEE*USA Issued Rare Alert on Visa Legislation
Y Axis, The H-1B Company
"'Congress is literally drowning in pleas from industry and educational organizations to support a substantial increase in the numbers of foreign high-tech professionals who can be admitted to work in the United States on temporary H-1B visas.', said a statement from IEEE-USA, the American arm of the IEEE.   'It's time for members of Congress to hear from real, live engineers and computer specialists -- people like you who live, work and vote in their districts -- whose jobs, professional careers and living standards could be adversely affected by this controversial legislation.   The association's efforts contrast sharply with those of electronics corporations, which have banded together as American Business for Legal Immigration.   The business-backed group has been actively soliciting congressmen to hike the visa caps.   Employers argue that a shortage of software personnel and engineers could undermine their attempts to develop new products...   blocked passage thus far, pending the addition of so-called 'worker safeguards' that would require American employers to certify that they have not laid off U.S. workers to hire... less-expensive immigrants.   American Business for Legal Immigration has protested additional safeguards, saying they would make the visa process cumbersome and bureaucratic.   Another engineering organization, the American Engineering Association (Fort Worth, Texas), is also actively opposing visa legislation. "


John R. Reinert of
IEEE 1998-09-04 (see also IEEE USA and the IEEE Computer Society)
"The increase [in numbers of guest-workers] is too large and too long and the worker safeguards too lax to prevent harms to our high-tech work-force and the long-term vitality of the US technical infrastructure.   In the last few months, more than 220K jobs have been cut by technology companies and the unemployment rate for electrical engineers has nearly tripled.   If there ever was a bad time for Congress to bring in a half-million indentured, high-tech guestworkers, this is it."











1998-09-14 17:14:54
Gene A. Nelson
Collection of Documents Demonstrating Massive Scientist & Engineer Glut

Brian Malina _Boulder News_/_Wilkes-Barre Times Leader_
Firms find that cost-cutting reduces loyalty
"But the new corporate cost-cutting measures also come with an unwanted side effect — an overworked, overstressed work force that feels little commitment to their employer, experts say...   According to the study, AON's work force commitment index (WCI) dropped 2.2 points [on a scale of 1-100] from 1997 to 1998...   Stum said a 1998 study of 1,800 workers show that more than 23% of employees would jump to a competing company for a 10% raise.   And, more than 57% of workers would make the jump for a 20% raise.   The survey also shows that companies that do not recognize the importance of a personal and family life put themselves in the position of losing their better employees...   Turn-over at the company in the Hanover Industrial Estates, Hanover Township, increased from 11% this year to the high teens after a company restructuring of some jobs."

Neal Weinberg _Network World_
Help Wanted: Older Workers Need Not Apply



Mimi Collins _NACE_
Starting Salaries for New Grads
Economics & Finance$33,691
Computer Science$41,949
Computer Engineering$43,865
EE Engineering$43,282









Aaron Bernstein _Business Week_
Is the jobs engine starting to sputter?: 359K positions eliminated through August
"Already, total lay-offs in the first 8 months were 37% ahead of last year's pace, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., a Chicago out-placement firm.   Only 1.9M jobs were added, compared with 2.2M for the same period a year ago -- a 14% slower growth rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' survey of company pay-rolls.   And the drop was bigger in service industries, which grew by 920K jobs through August, 19% less than in the same period last year, according to the BLS.   The slow-down hasn't raised the [unemployment] rate yet, because fewer new workers are joining the labor force.   But if job cuts continue at their current pace, today's 4.5% unemployment rate may soon drift higher, economists say.   If it does, consumer confidence could take a hit.   'The job market is still good, but workers' anxiety level may jump if the lay-offs continue.', says John A. Challenger, vice-president of Challenger Gray.   Challenger Gray reckons that 359K positions were eliminated through August.   That's just 11% below the peak in 1993.   While factory workers have borne the brunt of these down-sizings, also included are employees of such companies as Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., which on Sept. 8 said that it will cut 2K of its 27K U.S. jobs.   Merger mania is the other force behind rising lay-offs.   The number of mergers so far this year has jumped by 8% from last year, to 7,999, according to Securities Data Co., a Thomson Corp. unit.   Companies are making deep post-merger cuts to reduce costs, says Jack W. Prouty, a partner at KPMG Peak Marwick LLP."

1998-09-24 16:15PDT (19:15EDT) (23:15GMT)
Courtney Macavinta & Kurt Oeler _CNET_/_ZD Net_
House OKed more tech guest-work visas despite current extreme excess
"After a late-night deal with the White House, the House passed legislation today to increase the number of highly skilled foreign workers allowed into the country each year while laying out some assurances that U.S. workers won't be displaced by H1-B visa holders...   the Clinton administration agreed to boost the number of H1-B visas for technical and well-educated workers from 65K to 115K in 1999 and 2000.   However, the cap will drop to 107,500 in 2001 and return to the current level by 2002.   The House passed a substitute version of representative Lamar Smith's (R-TX) Workforce Improvement and Protection Act by a 288-133 vote.   The Senate still has to approve the bill...   In return for the increase in visas, a select number of high-tech companies that hire a lot of H1-B employees will be subject to increased Labor Department monitoring.   The bill also imposes stiffer penalties for firing an American worker in order to hire a foreign one.   Companies can't pay H1-B visa holders lower wages than their American counterparts, either -- a practice that is known to happen.   Violators could be banned from the H1-B program for 3 years.   And in a move to quell opposition, National Science Foundation scholarships for low-income students in math, engineering, and computer science also will be substantially increased to $75M per year, paid for by revenue gained from increasing fees for visa applications up to $500...   Ironically, Intel is set to lay off 3,000 workers this year and up to 700 employees next year--although many of the positions being eliminated are in manufacturing, so the pool probably doesn't include many H1-B-caliber positions...   But opponents of the bill say it helps give U.S. jobs away to foreigners...   It is estimated, for example, that Compaq Computer will cut up to 10K workers in the wake of its merger with Digital Equipment [wiping out a decent firm that made decent products in the process].   Others also are expected to do away with jobs this year: Xerox will reduce its staff by 9K workers, electronics company AMP will eliminate 3,500 jobs, and Nortel, which acquired router maker Bay Networks, said this month that it will cut 3,500 jobs."

Dana Rohrabacher _US House_
quoted in submitted testimony of Michael Emmons
"There are hundreds of thousands of workers from developing countries, indeed, that are willing to work for less.   But the fact that they (the executives) are importing them will take pressure off people to train our own people or to increase the wages of our people so those people will get their own training.   The effect of this bill is to bring down the market wage for our high-tech workers."



1998-09-25 20:30PDT (1998-09-25 23:30EDT) (1998-09-26 03:30GMT)
Corey Grice & Courtney Macavinta _CNET_/_ZD Net_
Corrupt Silicon Valley executives stand by corrupt Clinton





"Real talent takes a long time to mature, to learn how to bring what character you have into sound, into your playing." --- Bud Freeman
(quoted in Studs Terkel 1972 _Working_ pg 600)






_Sacramento CA Business Journal_
Sacramento CA leads state for high-tech job growth
"American Electronics Association [a tech executive lobbyist]. High-tech employment grew by 56% in Sacramento from 1990 through 1996.   The report, 'California Cybercities', finds that nearly one-third of the state's high-tech jobs are in Silicon Valley, with average wages of $72K -- 57% above the rest of the private sector.   High-tech salaries in Sacramento averaged $50,705, compared to $26,802 for the private sector overall."

Sharon Begley & Thomas Hayden _NewsWeek_
Too Many Biologists Spoil the Broth
"A mere decade ago, the National Science Foundation [NSF] warned of a coming short-fall in scientists and engineers, with as many as 675K jobs going begging by -- well, just about now.   It didn't happen that way.   The end of the cold war meant big cut-backs in demand for physicists and aerospace engineers.   And even the boom in biotechnology, neuroscience and genetics has failed to keep pace with the thousands of new biology Ph.D.s churned out by universities each year.   As a result, 38% of biology grads cannot land anything but temporary jobs, even 6 years after receiving their doctorates, according to a new study from the National Academy of Sciences."

Kathleen Melymuka _ComputerWorld_
Millenium SuperStars
"An August survey of 100 [bodyshops] by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) showed that the 'overwhelming majority' have more programmers than they can use...   The supply of Y2K programmers has been bigger than expected because many corporations out-sourced coding to off-shore companies, vendors developed Y2K tools that automated much of the coding process, and schools and training facilities graduated a bumper crop of programmers geared to the job."


1998-10-06 13:35PDT (16:35EDT) (20:35GMT)
Dawn Kawamoto _CNET_/_ZD Net_
Asian flu leads to record lay-offs in the USA
"Job cuts in the computer, electronics, and telecommunications industries are far surpassing last year's figures -- by 2-fold in most cases -- as the impact of the Asian economic crisis hits, according to a report released today.   The U.S. electronics industry, which includes semiconductors, has issued 69,595 lay-off notices since the start of the year through September 30, according to the report compiled by Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That's more than 3 times the 22,008 cuts announced for all last year. In the computer industry, 44,035 cuts were announced during the first 9 months of this year, up 47.7% from 1997, the report said. The telecommunications industry saw its ranks thinned by 28,934 jobs during the nine-month period, a huge jump from the 10,822 positions eliminated last year... The electronics and computing industries suffered their greatest blows, for the most part, in June."

Ron Scherer _Christian Science Monitor_
US Jobs Are Pink-Slipping Away: Lay-offs soar as once-hot US economy cools. Still, overall unemployment is expected to creep -- not leap -- upward
"In a sign that the United States economy is losing steam, corporations are beginning to shed workers by the thousands. Lower earnings, a flood of imports from Asia, & turmoil in the stock markets are partially to blame.   And there are also signs that consumer confidence -- which has been strong -- is starting to weaken.   According to Challenger, Gray, & Christmas, a Chicago out-placement firm, for the first 8 months of 1998 lay-offs are up 37% from last year & are at the highest level since 1994.   And job creation -- the new jobs needed to offset lay-offs -- is at its lowest level in nearly 3 years."


_Times Herald Record_
September's job cuts exceed 73K
"U.S. employers handed out a lot of pink slips in September, almost doubling the number of job cuts they made in August, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.   Some 73,062 jobs were axed last month, up from 37,177 in August, the Chicago-based out-placement firm said Tuesday.   That's a 253% increase over 1997 September and the highest number since 1996 January, when 97,379 job were cut.   Job-cut announcements in the third quarter totaled 161,013, representing the largest third-quarter figure since 194,486 job cuts were announced in 1993, the biggest down-sizing year of the decade."

_Record On-Line_/_WSJ_
September job cut announcements up 73K in USA
"73,062 jobs were axed last month, up from 37,177 in August, the Chicago-based out-placement firm said Tuesday.   That's a 253% increase over 1997 September and the highest number since 1996 January, when 97,379 job were cut.   Job-cut announcements in the third quarter totaled 161,013, representing the largest third-quarter figure since 194,486 job cuts were announced in 1993, the biggest down-sizing year of the decade.   Year-to-date, the total number of cuts is 53% higher than for the same period in 1997.   The consumer goods sector posted the highest number of job cuts in September, with 11,163, followed by industrial goods (10,698), financial (9,754), electronics (8,750), apparel (7,185) and health care (6,412)."


Chris Currie _IEEE_
High-Tech Lay-Off, Unemployment Rates Multiply as Congress Votes on H-1B Increase
"Data released this week reveal a vulnerable and under-utilized U.S. high-tech work-force -- even as Congress considers a dramatic expansion of the H-1B high-tech guest-worker program that would leave nearly all U.S. technical workers subject to legal displacement, charged IEEE-USA on the eve of final Congressional action on H-1B visa legislation.   IEEE-USA cited new statistics showing that high-technology industries in 1998 have cut 4 times as many jobs nationally as last year, creating more lay-offs than almost every other sector of the economy, according to Challenger, Gray and Christmas, an international out-placement firm.   The electronics, computer and telecommunications industries alone logged 143K lay-offs and constituted 3 of the top 5 industries in total 1998 job-cut announcements.   In addition, third-quarter data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released today reveals that electrical-engineering unemployment jumped to 3.4% -- more than an 8-fold increase since the beginning of 1998 and the highest rate since the record-high levels of 1994...
  According to data released October 6 by the National Science Foundation, the science and engineering (S&E) work-force reached nearly 3.2M in 1995; at the same time, however, about 4.7M people whose highest degrees were in S&E fields were working in non-S&E occupations."


Chris Currie _IEEE_
High-Tech Lay-Off, UnEmployment Rates Multiply as Congress Votes on H-1B Increase
"IEEE-USA cited new statistics showing that high-technology industries in 1998 have cut 4 times as many jobs nationally as last year, creating more lay-offs than almost every other sector of the economy, according to Challenger, Gray and Christmas, an international out-placement firm.   The electronics, computer and telecommunications industries alone logged 143K lay-offs and constituted 3 of the top 5 industries in total 1998 job-cut announcements.   In addition, third-quarter data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released today reveals that electrical-engineering unemployment jumped to 3.4% -- more than an 8-fold increase since the beginning of 1998 and the highest rate since the record-high levels of 1994.
  Moreover, a new National Science Foundation report found that nearly 50% more US high-technology degree holders are working outside of their fields than the total number of professionals in the US technical work-force...   According to data released October 6 by the National Science Foundation, the science and engineering (S&E) work-force reached nearly 3.2M in 1995; at the same time, however, about 4.7M people whose highest degrees were in S&E fields were working in non-S&E occupations.   Most of the latter were working in sales and marketing, management and administration, and non-S&E-related teaching."





Michelle Mittelstadt _abc News_/_AP_
Language Slated for Budget Bill: H-1B Visa Increase Spared
"Legislation that would set aside 142,500 more visas for foreigners with computer savvy and other high-tech skills has been revived in Congress, just days after it appeared dead for the year.   Congressional budget negotiators and the White House have tentatively agreed to insert the measure into the final spending package that Congress is rushing to finish.   The chairman of the Senate Judiciary immigration subcommittee, senator Spencer Abraham, R-MI, and others scrambled to insert the high-tech visa expansion into the omnibus spending bill after the measure was blocked Friday by senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa...
  The White House also welcomed the measure's inclusion...   The White House had threatened to veto Abraham's initial proposal, concerned that an in-flow of foreign talent could harm US workers.   Abraham and Sperling last month hammered out a compromise they say will increase protections for US workers without burdening industry."

Elisabeth Rosenthal _NY Times_
In Red China, 35+ and Female = Unemployable
"As [Red China] struggles to convert to market economy, closing and shrinking state-owned industries, women over 35 have borne brunt of pain, being far more likely to be laid off and far less likely to find new job than any other group; even though women populated factory floors for decades as worker ants in array of state industries that have now shrunk, they learned few skills and are mostly poorly educated -- belonging to generation that came of age during Cultural Revolution, when most of China's universities were shut down; have been victims of outright discrimination and deeply held cultural biases about limited abilities of women, particularly those over 35, that have free play in country where want ads often specify sex and other physical characteristics; women accounted for only 39% of [Red China's] work force in 1997, but nearly 61% of its laid-off workers; surveys show 75% of those who were laid off are still unemployed, compared with under 50% of male counterparts, and that there has been higher-than-normal rates of depression, family violence and divorce in households where women have been laid off; situation in Tianjin, sprawling coastal manufacturing city of 9M that was stung by 320K lay-offs in 1997 alone discussed.   Every afternoon, in the small court-yard outside the Machang Street Re-employment Center, small groups of laid-off workers anxiously scan the day's help-wanted listings.   There is a sad sameness about this army of job hopefuls, each one dressed up, ready for an interview at any time: they are all women, all over 35 and all unskilled."

1998-10-13 13:40PDT (16:40EDT) (20:40GMT)
Courtney Macavinta _CNET_/_ZD Net_
H-1B visa program could yet be hugely expanded despite stumbling tech job market
"Legislation to almost double the number of highly skilled technology workers allowed into the country each year may escape sudden death before Congress adjourns tomorrow...   The Clinton administration signed off on the bill to boost the number of H1-B visas for technical and well-educated workers from 65K to 115K for 1999 and 2000, and to return to the current level by 2002.   However, a select number of high-tech companies that hire many H1-B employees will be subject to increased Labor Department monitoring.   The bills impose stiffer penalties for firing an American worker in favor of an H1-B visa holder, and for paying foreign workers lower wages than their American counterparts...   'Now, ostensibly, the reason for doing this, and why this came up in the last couple of years, is that there was projected to be a big shortage in computer programmers.', Harkin said on the floor.   'It turns out that has, indeed, not happened.'"







Kelly H. Carnes
Expanding Women's Leadership Role in Science and Technology
"Investments in IT now represent over 45% of all business equipment investment.   In 1994, 3M people used the Internet.   By the end of 1997, more than 100M people were surfing the web, with another 100M expected to log-on this year.   And, by 2002, the Internet may be used for more than $300G worth of commerce among businesses.   A Commerce Department analysis shows that, in the past 5 years, information technologies have been responsible for more than one-quarter of real economic growth...   Unemployment among computer professionals in 1997 was 1.3% -- less than one third the rate for all workers."

Michael J. Mandel _Haas School, Berkeley University_
New Economy: For Better or Worse
"The economy generated only 69K jobs in September... job-cut announcements in the first nine months of 1998 are running about 50% ahead of last year's pace, according to calculations by out-placement firm Challenger, Gray, & Christmas..."

Perry Brothers _Cincinnati Enquirer_
Starting Salaries for New Grads
Liberal Arts$27,267

David Foster _Cincinnati Enquirer_
Who is the real Bill Gates? Visionary, unethical schemer, or computer geek?





1998-10-23 14:30PDT (17:30EDT) (21:30GMT)
Courtney Macavinta _CNET_/_ZD Net_
How congress and Clinton really shafted American tech professionals
"On Wednesday, President Clinton ushered most of the tech legislation into law by signing a critical $500G federal spending bill that Congress had made into a pork sandwich, slapping on last-minute fixings like a 3-year Net tax ban and more visas for foreign engineers and other highly skilled workers [i.e. cheap, young, pliant, low-skilled labor with flexible ethics].   Clinton also approved a congressional probe into sexism in the technology and science fields, online privacy protections for preteens, and a bill to push forward the government's use of digital signatures...   tacked on to the omnibus spending bill, raises the cap on the number of H1-B visas for technical and well-educated workers from 65K to 115K for 1999 and 2000.   While proponents of the bill carved out millions of dollars for science and technology scholarships to bolster the number of eligible workers for H-1B positions, this doesn't mean that the pipe-line for the most lucrative high-tech jobs will be bulging in just 2 years.   So the high-tech industry will likely go back to Congress to ask for another expansion of the program.   'The H1-B issue is a very important part of a much more extensive commitment that must be made to improve the skills of incumbent workers, dislocated or unemployed workers and the U.S. education system.', said David Byer, vice president of government affairs for the Software Publishers Association."





1998-10-26 18:00PST (1998-10-26 21:00EST) (1998-10-27 02:00GMT)
Corey Grice _CNET_/_ZD Net_
Tech execs bribe congress-critters (with table)
"Political contributions by the technology elite are on the rise...   TechNet co-founder L. John Doerr, of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, topped the technology list.   Unranked last year, Doerr and his wife came in at #40 by contributing $163,563, mostly to Democrats.   Class-action litigator William Lerach, a partner at the law firm of Milberg, Weiss, Bershad, Hynes & Lerach LLP, registered on the list at #47; Lerach was #126 last year...   TechNet was founded in part to fend off California's Proposition 211, a failed ballot initiative that would have made it easier for share-holders to sue companies, especially volatile technology start-ups, for poor stock market performance.   Lerach most recently filed a similar class-action law-suit against publisher Ziff-Davis.   Cisco Systems chief executive John Chambers and his wife weigh in at #77 on the list, Netscape's Jim Barksdale and his wife are at #175, and CNET chief executive Halsey Minor and his wife came in at #201.   (CNET: The Computer Network publishes   Computer industry contributions increased to $5M from $2.8M for the comparable period in 1993-94, the last so-called 'off year', or non-presidential, election cycle, she said."




Wages & Lay-Offs Are Up
"Compensation for civilian workers -- in and out of government -- rose 3.7% over the fiscal year that ended in September, the Labor Department said Thursday...   John A. Challenger, who runs a Chicago out-placement firm, Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., said companies already are economizing in the face of rising wage costs.   They publicly announced 161K lay-offs from July to September, the most in 4 years."



Asian woes erode US jobs; National and local unemployment up; hiring, help-wanted advertising, consumer confidence, consumer sentiment indices down
Philadelphia Inquirer
"The number of planned lay-offs announced by large companies totaled 431,456 this year through September, 53% more than in the same period last year, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc...   Challenger sees an especially grim outlook for the technology industry, where job cuts are expected to increase in the fourth quarter because exports are weak"

1998 October
Philip Hyde _TimeSizing_
DownSizings in 1998 October
"Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a national out-placement firm, reports that lay-offs were 53% higher this year than they were in the first 9 months of 1997.   In September, more than 73K job cuts were announced...   job growth also has dropped from an average of 200K a month since the early 1990s to only 69K in September, as firms braced for the possiblity of a down-turn."

"The less often a severe penalty is applied, the more arbitrary will be the occasions when it is applied." --- Samuel Walker 1994 _Sense & Non-Sense about Crime & Drugs_ pg 51



_American Chemical Society_
Employment Outlook (with graphs)
index to similar articles
"In determining the employment outlook for 1999 graduates, the watch-words are 'the economy, the economy, the economy'.   Although the 1999 job market could be as good as it was in 1998 -- which was the best on record for the 1990s -- it could also be dampened by an ailing global economy.   In this annual examination of career opportunities for chemists and chemical engineers, C&emp;EN finds an overall optimistic outlook for both industrial and academic hiring.   However, on the industrial scene, the robust recruiting occurring currently on college campuses is tempered by the realization that a further downturn in the economy could cause some of the companies to pull back on hiring plans...   In academia, however, the cost of bringing a faculty member on board could hamper hiring and leave positions unfilled...   Salaries of individual chemists and chemical engineers are growing at a median rate of between 4% and 5% per year -- more than twice the rate of inflation...   Jobless rate for chemists stays relatively high [more than twice what they were in 1988]...   The overall median of $65K is up 3.2%, while the $49,600 median for those with a bachelor's degree is up only 0.4%.   The gains for master's and Ph.D. chemists are 2.7% and 3.2%.   The increase for those in both industry and government is 3.7%, whereas this year's $54K median for those in academia indicates zero growth."

_Industry Week_
survey on employee retention
"Even as finance is playing a larger corporate strategic role, there are new questions about its ability to retain top talent.   Nearly 68% of 130 CFOs polled by the Financial Executives Institute and Watson Wyatt Worldwide report employees leaving for better opportunities, higher pay -- or both.   Yet 55% of the CFOs surveyed rarely, if ever, make a counter-offer to a valued employee who has been offered another job.   Annual employee turn-over in finance is put at 5% by 40% of the CFOs; 26.8% peg annual turn-over at 10%; and 11% say turn-over is 15%."








Terry Oldberg _Time.com_
What's Your Take on Corporate Welfare?: A Bill Americans Opposed
"Computer programmers over age 50, who have a 17% unemployment rate, are going to have an even tougher time of finding jobs.   Before the vote, a Louis Harris poll had determined that 82% of Americans opposed this bill...   The amount of wealth which stands to be transferred from computer industry employees to their employers under the H-1B visa program is roughly $20G per year.   Knowing this, a Silicon Valley lobbying organization, TechNet, had funneled around $2M per year in soft money contributions to the 2 major parties."...










1998-11-18 08:10PST (11:10EST) (15:10GMT)
Stephanie Neil & Aileen Crowley _PC Week_
H-1B safety net fails IT workers
"Four years ago, LK hit a bitter turning point in her career.   One day, with no warning, LK said, she was summoned via office memo to an off-site meeting with 249 of her colleagues at insurance giant American International Group Inc. [AIG].   Then they were all fired.   Before leaving the company, however, for the next 60 days, LK trained her replacement -- a foreign IT professional, provided to AIG by a contractor and working in the United States on a temporary work visa called H1-B.   Although LK and other former employees filed complaints against AIG, the company wasn't found liable.   The kind of abuse represented by Kilcrease's well-documented case was supposedly ended in October when Congress passed new compromise legislation governing H1-B visas.   The American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act gave large IT employers what they said they desperately need -- relief from what they say is a severe shortage of technical employees in the United States -- by increasing the number of H1-B visas available each year from 65K to 115K in 1999 and 2000...   the safety net in the new law is fraught with gaping loop-holes that put U.S. IT jobs -- particularly those of older workers -- at risk and leave foreign H1-B visa holders vulnerable to exploitation.   Officials with the Department of Labor, charged with overseeing the law's safeguards, admit that they lack the resources to provide comprehensive enforcement...   the new law protects U.S. workers from unfair displacement by forbidding any company with a work force comprising at least 15% non-immigrant H-1B holders to replace a U.S. worker with an H1-B holder.   The loop-hole is in the language: The 15% limit applies to entire companies, including human resources, sales, finance, business development and so on.   Since most IT organizations do not constitute 15% of their companies' work force, it is impossible to hit that threshold and impossible to protect U.S. workers...   U.S. workers have a lot to lose from abuse of the H1-B law.   When LK lost her job, for example, she also lost many of her retirement benefits, since she was terminated 6 months shy of her 10-year anniversary...   Older workers looking for IT jobs, for example, say the availability of foreign workers with H1-B visas has made it easier for employers to engage in age discrimination.   Many older workers feel as if they are being quickly passed over for H1-B individuals."


1998-11-19 08:30PST (11:30EST) (16:30GMT)
Julia King & Barb Cole-Golmolski _CNN_
IT workers will not be home for the holidays
"You could be among the legions of information technology workers stuck at the office this year testing newly implemented year 2000 software or trying to beat other year-end project dead-lines...   To help soften the sting and boost worker morale during the crunch, some companies are offering incentives that range from full-course holiday meals to extra pay and additional time off after the first of the year.   At Automatic Data Processing Corp. in Roseland, NJ, IT workers collect an extra $100 each month for wearing a beeper around the clock."










Dixon C. Johnson _Los Angeles Times_
Foreign Students Who Cheat
Guest-Worker Fraud
"International students composed just 10% of the student population at USC but represented 46.7% of those accused of 'academic dishonesty' -- cheating -- according to a report by the school's Office for Student Conduct."



1998 November
Sharon R. Cohaney _Monthly Labor Review_
Worker in alternative employment arrangements: A second look at bodyshopping
"Both the proportion and characteristics of workers in 4 alternative employment arrangements in 1997 February were little different from 2 years earlier; the groups continue to be highly diverse.   This article examines the latest BLS data on independent contractors, on-call workers, temporary help agency workers, and workers provided by contract firms."

1998 September-October
Laura Langbein _IEEE USA_/_American University_
An Analysis of UnEmployment Trends Among IEEE USA Members
"Those who were laid-off were asked what reason the company gave for the lay-off.   The most common response was a business turn-down (31%).   10% or fewer each listed merger, efficiency improvement, transfer of work, or plant/office obsolescence as the reason given for their lay-off.   63% reported that the lay-offs were targeted at specific functions or units, rather than being across-the-board.
  All respondents were asked whether they wanted to remain in their primary area of technical competence, and two-thirds did.   17% wanted to change their primary area of specialization, and 11% wanted to move out of their primary area; only 6% wanted to be able to move into their primary area of competency.
  Most respondents (69%) do not contemplate more schooling, but 28% consider returning to school part-time, and 3% consider returning full-time.
  Slightly over a quarter (27%) consider leaving engineering entirely.
  The duration of unemployment varies widely among the respondents, from a low of 0 weeks to a high of 740 weeks (or about 14 years).   The mean is 103 weeks (or 2 years), while the median is considerably less, at 65 weeks (just over 1 year), indicating a highly skewed distribution with about 75% of responses below the mean and 25% above it.

  Respondents were asked what services their employer provided when they left.   Respondents could check more than one service, and many did.   Severance was provided in 48% of cases, and extended benefits in 33% of cases.   Out-placement help was provided to 28% of respondents, and retraining was offered to only 6% of respondents.
  Respondents were asked to describe their employment search and the results.   Nearly three quarters (71%) agreed that it was very difficult to find a new job; only 4% said that it was fairly easy to find a new job.   Less than 10% each reported that an offer fell into their lap, that they found a great job, or even an adequate job, or that they anticipated a raise.   One-fourth (24%) anticipate a pay cut.
  Fewer than half (45%) would recommend engineering to their son or daughter; 29% are not sure, and 26% would not recommend it at all."

"Cooperation is the free association of men who work together by voluntary agreement, each deriving from it his own personal benefit." --- Ayn Rand 1947 November "Screen Guide for Americans" _Plain Talk_

1998 November
Robert F. Tax _New Jersey Institute of Technology_
Engineers Have Few Friends in Washington

1998 November
Gary Johnson's Brave New Work World

1998 November
Philip Hyde _Doom du Jour_
DownSizings in 1998 November
"US companies announced in October plans to cut 91,500 jobs, the most in nearly 3 years.   In the first 10 months of this year, job cuts totaled 523K, nearly all of them domestic.   That's 200K more than the number of jobs eliminated in the same period last year, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas...   3.6M workers were laid off during the 2 years ended 1997 December, from jobs they had held for at least 3 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics..."

1998 November
Andrew P. Morriss _FreeMan_
Internet grew out of a spontaneous ordering process

1998 November
Francis Dietz _Mechanical Engineering_
Congress addressing high-tech worker issues
"In the end, it was attached to a bill so mammoth, so incredibly complex that even members of Congress who opposed it ended up voting for it.   'It' was HR3736, the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act, legislation to increase the number of visas made available each year to foreign professionals with specific skills in demand by American businesses.   The bill to which it was attached was HR4328, the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 1998.   Early in the 105th Congress, [executives in] the nation's computer industry began complaining that, at 65K, the number of high-tech visas was too low and that high-skilled jobs were going unfilled for lack of qualified American workers.   Executives complained that the situation was so dire that it was affecting the ability of the American computer industry to compete in the global market.   Their arguments, the lobbying of industry groups, and a certain amount of animosity toward labor unions by a Republican-controlled Congress helped convince key members of Congress that a problem existed.   In September, after months of negotiation between members of Congress and the White House, agreement was reached on a compromise bill that would increase the number of high-tech visas, also known as H-1B visas, from the current 65K per year to 115K in fiscal years 1999 and 2000.   The number would drop to 107,500 in fiscal year 2001, and return to 65K in fiscal year 2002.   The compromise legislation included provisions designed to require evidence of an actual need for additional temporary foreign workers, protect the rights of American workers, and ensure that the foreign workers were covered under existing American labor laws...   Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) objected, claiming that a high-tech worker shortage did not exist.   At the end of a session, when time is at a premium, such an objection usually spells defeat for a bill.   This time, however, the legislation was attached to the monstrous $520G omnibus budget bill that both houses passed just before hurrying home to campaign for re-election.   Senator Harkin ultimately voted in favor of the omnibus bill...   Employers are now required to pay full-time H-1B workers their full wages even if there is not enough work for them to do.   This provision presumably will encourage employers to think carefully before applying for a visa for a foreign worker.   Other parts of the legislation are designed to discourage reductions in the American workforce to make way for foreign workers.   The law stipulates that H-1B-dependent companies (generally, those whose work-forces include 15% or more H-1B workers) must guarantee that they will not lay off an American employee in the same job 90 days before or after the company files a petition for an H-1B worker.   Employers who are found to have willfully violated the law by under-paying H-1B workers [beyond the under-payment allowed in the law] or by laying off American workers are subject to a 3-year debarment from the program and a $35K fine.   The law also requires employers (except universities and similar institutions) to pay a fee of $500 per H-1B visa application, with the money going to provide scholarships for students studying engineering, math, and computer science, and to support federal job training services.   The fee is expected to raise some $75M per year between now and 2002, when it expires.   That provision was not enough to mollify representative Ron Klink (D-PA), who opposed the bill.   'What good is a scholarship if people going to college now can't get hired?', he asked.   His view was echoed by representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), who decried the bill as 'about appeasing big businesses'.   Rohrabacher said the law would 'flood the market with people from over-seas who will work for less money'...   According to the U.S. Department of Labor, of the 398,324 H-1B visa petitions filed in 1997, just 5,585, or 1.4%, were for mechanical engineers.   Occupations with the highest number of petitions filed were computer-related (177,034), therapists (103,097), accountants (9,865), and physicians (7,360).   The Labor Department estimates that 352K mechanical engineers currently are employed in the United States, with an unemployment rate of 1.4%."

1998 November
top 500 fastest super computers LinPack bench-mark (rated in giga Floating-point Operations / second)

"I can't simply stop doing what I do because I'm afraid of angering the government.   Americans have a right to private conversations." --- Phil Zimmerman 1995-08-14 to USN&WR


1998-12-01 08:30PST (11:30EST) (16:30GMT)
Elizabeth de Bony _CNN_
Europe lags in IT skills
"The 23-page [European Commission] report, 'Job Opportunities in the Information Society' points out that there are currently over 500K job vacancies in information technology [allegedly] due to skill shortages...   By 2002 the gap could widen to 1.2M jobs if measures are not taken."


1998-12-02 11:00PST (14:00EST) (19:00GMT)
Alice LaPlante _CNN_
IT pay doesn't keep up with stress, long hours
"When Chi Lin began looking for a new information technology position...   he was astonished by the low salaries he was offered, given what he'd been reading about worker demand and salary levels.   'I did some pretty exhaustive research and worked with several head-hunting firms, but most companies were simply not willing' to go as high as he wanted, Lin says...   it could be that many companies out there have unrealistic expectations of what it takes to attract a 'qualified' candidate...   there are certainly a lot of unhappy campers out there...   Despite, or perhaps because of, the widespread publicity about the lack of qualified IT workers -- combined with the panicked efforts of U.S. employers to fill vacant job slots -- a substantial percentage of IT professionals don't feel they are being adequately compensated...   Most are satisfied that they're getting their hands on enough of the latest gadgets (both hardware and software) to keep their skills fairly current.   Even better was the fact that employers are trying to make work environments more flexible to create more 'life-friendly' work-places.   And IT employees say they would take less cash in favor of a reduced work-load or more flexibility about scheduling...   Still, getting enough training remains on most IT employees' hot list.   Even though many received hands-on exposure to new technologies, most would like to be put through courses of study -- preferably those offering accreditation -- that go beyond tinkering with a new product in their spare time...   He believes that IT employees would be willing either to forgo salary increases or sign contracts stipulating their agreement to stay for a certain period of time, if they will be guaranteed a certain amount of training...   'Although I have a much higher salary in my current position, I joke that I still get $2.25 an hour, because I put in so much [un-paid] over-time.', Smith says.

1998-12-02 12:00PST (15:00EST) (20:00GMT)
Thomas York _CNN_
IT career outlook is bright for 1999
"Economists and other professional crystal-ball gazers predict that the U.S. economy will slump slightly in pre-millennial 1999.   How much is anybody's guess.   But few expect the slow-down to have much impact on the healthy market for IT workers. [quotes from several bodyshoppers]"



Elizabeth Farnsworth & William Jefferson Clinton _National Socialist Television_
The Numbers Game
"Declining exports have triggered job losses in some sectors; and until last month, unemployment had slowly crept up from its spring-time low...   In November, the economy added more than a quarter of a million jobs, which means now America has created about 17.3M jobs in the last 6 years...
  Boeing. The Seattle Aerospace Company now plans to cut 48K jobs over the next 2 years...   Kellogg said this week it would trim 21% of the salaried work force at its Michigan headquarters.   And health care giant Johnson and Johnson plans to eliminate more than 4K jobs or about 4% of its total work force...   Monday's word of a take-over of Bankers Trust by Deutschbank could mean job losses for about... 500 people, mostly in New York and London.   And if the proposed Exxon-Mobil merger announced Tuesday goes through, up to 9K workers worldwide could lose their jobs...
  And joining me now are John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray, & Christmas, a corporate job placement and search form, and Lisa Lynch of Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy.   She was chief economist for the Labor Department from 1995 to 1997.   Ms. Lynch, first on the new jobs being created, where were those quarter-million new jobs created last month created?   Over the year we've had over 300K new jobs added in the construction industry.   In services, there was a very large job growth, the highest since May of this year.   In particular, in computer, data processing area and the retail sector there was job growth and in the temporary help industry is as well...   Companies today are creating knowledge jobs.   A lot of them are computer technology-related jobs.   We're not turning back to a nation of hamburger flippers.   [Doth he protest too much?]...   Wages continue to be going up moderately...   unemployment is going down, yet, lay-offs are going up.   You'd think maybe companies are either laying off people en mass, or they're hiring rapidly, but that's just not the case.   It's a much more complex economy today.   What's happened is we've got a just-in-time kind of work-place environment...
  we've created global competition, and so in each industry there are going to be more winners and losers...   We're seeing average search times right now about 2.6 months.   That's way down from a norm of 3.3/4 months...   People are finding good jobs, and they're finding them quickly.   The tough parts is you have to do that much more often in a career today.   You might have a decade -- certainly before had hoped to work for one company for life, but that's just not available anymore."




1998-12-07 08:14PST (11:14EST) (16:14GMT)
Pink slips proliferate
"U.S. companies shed workers at the fiercest rate in 7 years during the last 3 months, cutting 3,400 positions per business day, a major employment survey revealed Monday.   According to employment consultant firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas (CGC), U.S. companies have slashed 216K jobs since the end of August, peaking in a 33-month high of 91,531 lay-offs in October alone.   In November, 51,642 workers were let go, a 9% increase from the year-ago figure of 47,241 job cuts.   On average the figures represent 3,432 job cuts per business day over the 3-month period.   At the current pace, 1998 lay-offs are almost certain to break a 5-year record.   'The dramatic job-cutting spree has turned 1998 into the second-'worst' year for the decade with 574,629 cuts in 11 months, only 40,560 behind the decade's record yearly figure of 615,189 in 1993.', CGC said."

_PEN list_
Lay-off announcements are up
"lay-offs are up, with an estimated 522,967 job cuts through October, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas (The Washington Post, December 6, page H4)."





_Truth in Media_
A Tale of Princes & Paupers
"In the wake of such industrial 'restructuring', millions of human beings are facing the fate of the Paupers.   Even in the 'good old days' of 1996, the Top 10 multi-nationals reduced their foreign work force by 18.3%, and their total worldwide employment by 9.2%.   The Top 50 down-sized to the tune of 1% and 8.4% respectively.   The job cuts in 1997 and 1998, which the above figures do not reflect, have been much more severe.   During the first 11 months of 1998, the U.S. businesses have announced plans to cut 575K jobs in America alone.   And the 1998 November lay-offs represent the highest monthly total in 5 years, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago-based out-placement company."

Jim Christie _Investor's Business Daily_/_Independent Institute_
Short-Lived "Good" News on Lost Factory Jobs
"At the same time, the services sector keeps growing. Vedder says that from 1979 to 1997, goods makers shed 2.5M jobs while 34.1M service-sector jobs were added."


















1998-12-28 13:24PST (16:24EST) (21:24GMT)
Nicole Jacoby _CNN_/_Money_
1998 lay-offs near high
"The number of pink slips received by workers could reach record levels in 1998, as deregulation, mergers and the Asia crisis prompted many companies to dole out pink slips this year.   Currently, 1998 figures lag those of 1993, when 615,189 jobs were cut, according to the employment placement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas.   But with 574,629 lay-offs through November, 1998 appears on track to report the largest number of job cuts this decade...   And dismal economic circumstances in the Pacific Rim induced many cuts, as companies sought to make up for Asia-related losses.   'The Asian situation has been a real driver and should continue into 1999, as companies scale back their growth plans.', Challenger said.   The holiday season has done little to curb the trend, with 3 major firms announcing more job cuts Monday."




1998 December
Howard Paul Forman, Daniel S. Kamin, Anne M. Covey & Jonathan H. Sunshine _American Journal of Roentgenology_
Changes in the Market for Diagnostic Radiologists as Measured through a Help Wanted Index (graphs)
"Note that peak in advertised positions occurred in 1992, followed by decline to nadir in 1995.   Subsequent recovery continues through 1998 December.   Fine line = absolute number, bold line = 12-month rolling average."

1998 December
Ronald Khol _Machine Design_ (quoted in _American Engineer_ vol 8 #2
American Engineer
"Despite corporate claims of shortages, software firms actually hire only 2% of the people who respond to employment ads.   And the unemployment rate for programmers above age 50 is around 17%."

1998 December
Ron Graziano _American Engineer_ vol 8 #2
American Engineer
"IEEE-USA cited new statistics showing that high-technology industries in 1998 have cut 4 times as many jobs nationally as last year, creating more lay-offs than almost every other sector of the economy, according to Challenger, Gray and Christmas, an international out-placement firm.   The electronics, computer and telecommunications industries alone logged 143K lay-offs and constituted 3 of the top 5 industries in total 1998 job-cut announcements."

1998 December
Gary Johnson's Brave New Work World

1998 December
Jonathan Erickson _Dr. Dobb's Journal_/_Environment Canada_
Following the Money
"Many people, including University of California-Davis professor Norman Matloff, believe H-1B reform would be unnecessary if high-tech companies would end hiring discrimination against midcareer (that is, over 40 years of age) workers, not to mention women and minorities... The American public seems to agree. According to an IEEE-USA/Louis Harris public-opinion poll, more than 4 out of 5 Americans oppose substantially increasing H-1B visa limits. Specifically, 82% of those polled opposed 'allowing U.S. companies to sponsor 190K additional foreign technical workers as temporary employees for up to 6 years'. Similarly, 66 percent disagreed with the premise that 'without adding additional temporary foreign workers, the United States might be forced to transfer work over-seas'."

Alexandra Samuel
Intercontinental Coding: Off-shore and Migrant Programmers (pdf)
"In 1994-1995, India exported $274M in software to the USA; since almost none of this consisted of packaged software, it can virtually all be considered as contract services provided to USA firms or private clients...   On the immigration side, about 40K immigrant workers have been added each year to America's work force of 1.5M [12M] programmers...   In fact, the presence of Indian programmers in the United States appears to operate as a complement to [and facilitator of], rather than substitute for, off-shore programming; the value of one option is actually enhanced by the availability of the other.   American firms use Indian programmers on-site as a way of checking out prospective sub-contractors, or use temporary visas to train Indian workers before establishing or expanding off-shore operations.   Indian contractors serve as sources for on-site labor as well as off-shore; workers used in off-shore projects may be brought into the US for future projects...
  As part of this plan, the government signed a 1966 accord with IBM geared towards expanding the company's Indian manufacturing operation.11 At the same time, 'the government expressed a desire that IBM allow Indian participation in the ownership and control of what at that time was one of a very few 100% foreign-owned subsidiaries in India'.   As part of government policy requiring shared ownership of India-based production, in 1968 the government again requested local equity in the IBM project, only to be told that IBM would withdraw rather than lose its central control over manufacturing.
  While the British International Computers and Tabulators Limited formed a 1968 partnership with India's Tata Enterprises in order to meet the local equity requirement, during the 1960s and 1970s India remained 'entirely dependent on multi-national corporations for «IT» equipment and software'. [TCS is the subsidiary that does cross-bordery bodyshopping.]"

Barbara Garson _Electronic SweatShop_ pg 226 "At the very time that economists are citing the efficiency of 'life-time' Japanese employees, American businesses are rapidly turning their labor force into temps.   Discarding old ideas about the value of loyalty & continuity, many American companies now hire typists, technicians, janitors, book-keepers, artists, editors, programmers, engineers & even executives by the project, by the hour or by the piece."

Eric R. Weinstein PhD
How and Why Government, Universities, and Industry Create Domestic Labor "Shortages" of Scientists and High-Tech Workers (with graphs)
How and Why Government, Universities, and Industry Create Domestic Labor "Shortages" of Scientists and High-Tech Workers (alternate link; pdf visited 2018-12-10)
"Among serious analysts, who have examined the surge in Science and Engineering (S&E) PhD production, there is little question but that the market has been glutted since the beginning of the 1990s.   The magnitude of the surge in production emanates from the temporary visa sector with smaller increases and fluctuations among immigrants and citizens...
  What appears to have happened instead is that the researchers in the group had already performed a market study of the demand projections before the infamous scarcity study was circulated.   This original study explicitly projected the salary increases which would be needed to eliminate the so-called 'shortage' and found that the natural wage level would nearly double the 1982 salary level.   As one might expect of economists working on behalf of NSF/PRA, the analysts sought to publish these intriguing results, but according to government sources, the PRA director chose instead to suppress their publication.
  The study was then circulated in a controlled manner to various individuals at NSF as an 'internal PRA analysis', and to select representatives of other interested parties.   According to sources within NSF, the study may have revealed too much about the political motives of the division chief and was thus perceived to threaten the PRA's political agenda.   The document shows that the PRA was studying past wage trends in order to project the future salaries of Ph.D. level researchers and clearly reveals that the prospect of rising wages as the 'pessimistic scenario' motivating the later 'shortage study'...
  'A growing influx of foreign PhD's into US labor markets will hold down the level of PhD salaries
to the extent that foreign students are attracted to US doctoral programs as a way of immigrating to the US.   A related point is that for this group the PhD salary premium is much higher [than it is for Americans], because it is based on BS-level pay in students' home nations versus PhD-level pay in the US.' [quoting a report of the National Science Foundation division of Policy Research and Analysis]"
chronological list of source docs

blow by blow of H-1B extension

David C. Bjorquist & Jaap Kleinhesselink _Journal of Industrial Teacher Education_
Contingent Employment & Alienated Workers
"The productive capacity of the organizations hiring on this basis may be better measured by the availability of timely, applicable talent than by the presence of workers at a job site.   In much the way that materials and services are purchased, producers want to have the advantage of buying specialized worker talents just-in-time (Button, 1993).   That is, to draw on a supply of worker talent, a contingent work-force, at the time that it is needed.   Most workers, already facing a future devoid of 'life-time employment' (Drucker, 1995), are further removed from the control of their work; further alienated for the gain of employers...
  In Spain, 70% of 372K new jobs in 1995 were for contingent workers.   In 1995, 20% of the French work-force was in temporary or part-time jobs (Templeman, Trinephi, & Toy, 1996).   In Great Britain, since 1984, about 10% of the public work-force and 7% of the private sector work-force has been contingent (Sly & Stillwell, 1997).   In The Netherlands, during the second quarter of 1997, those employed via temporary agencies worked 85M hours or the equivalent of 165K full-time jobs in a labor force of 6.6M workers (Statistics Netherlands, 1997a & 1997b).
  Carrns (1996) contends that the growth in the number of U.S. contingent workers was 4 times as fast as employment overall.   Button (1993) reported that temporary employment in the U.S. grew 10 times faster than permanent employment in the 1980s and 20 times faster in 1993 alone...   Since the early 1980s, the number of agencies in the U.S. placing contingent workers has grown from about 100 to nearly 1,500 (Feldman, et al., 1994).   Temporary employment agencies such as Manpower, Inc. and Kelly Services, Inc. expanded 10 times faster than overall employment between 1982 and 1990 (Judd & Pope, 1994).   Hippel, Mangum, Greenberger, Heneman, and Skoglind (1997) estimate that the U.S. temporary services business has grown 360% since 1982...
  Even when limited to economic considerations, Bernhardt and Bailey (1997) conclude that employers have benefited more than workers from the arrangements of contingent employment.   Rifkin (1995) concurs: 'The movement toward contingent workers is part of a long-term strategy by management to cut wages and avoid paying for costly benefits like health care, pensions, paid sick leave, and vacation.' (pg 191)   Corporate down-sizing reduces the number of permanent employees and contingent workers often fill the resulting talent gap.   Contingent workers usually have lower earnings and no fringe benefits, can be easily laid off when they are no longer needed, and usually are not at one work-place long enough to develop a sense of solidarity with other workers (Parker, 1994).   Generally, U.S. companies that employ contingent workers save on Social Security, benefit costs, career development costs (McNerney, 1995), and costs of recruiting, interviewing, and hiring (Button, 1993) [at the cost of the employees].   Each of these actions can serve to debase individual workers' self-respect and economic status...
  Sophisticated technologies are used to organize work.   These structures designate the jobs into which individuals are hired and define the conditions under which employment occurs (Herschbach, 1994).   The organization of work is created by humans; it is not taken from nature.   Technology is a means of controlling the conditions of work and, subsequently, of controlling workers."

Pete Enmgardio, Rob Hof, Elisabeth Malkin, Neil Gross & Karen Lowry Miller _Business Week_
High-Tech Jobs All Over the Map: As training and experience in less developed countries rapidly improve, the West's better-compensated workers may be left behind
"The worldwide shift to market economies, steady improvements in education, and decades of over-seas training by multi-nationals are all producing a global work-force in fields ranging from product development to finance and architecture that is capable of performing tasks once reserved for white-collar workers in the West.   What's more, dizzying advances in telecommunications are making these workers more accessible than ever.   As a result, just as Westerners learned in the 1970s and 1980s that manufacturing could be moved virtually anywhere, today it is getting easier to shift knowledge-based labor as well...
  What makes Third World brain-power so attractive is price.   A good computer circuit-board designer in California, for example, can pull down $60K to $100K a year.   Taiwan is glutted with equally qualified engineers earning around $25K.   In India or [Red China], you can get top-level talent, probably with a PhD, for less than $10K."

1998 February through June
_South Beach_

1998 December
Jeffrey Tucker _Ludwig von Mises Institute_
Mr. Moral Hazard

John R. Reinert of
IEEE-USA 1998 to congress
(see also IEEE and the IEEE Computer Society)
"[C]laims of high-tech worker shortages are inflated, the domestic labor supply is under-stated, & the wisdom of expanding immigration is over-rated..."

John R. Reinert of
IEEE-USA 1998 to congress
(see also IEEE and the IEEE Computer Society)
"In the last few months, more than 150K jobs have been cut by technology companies & the unemployment rate for electrical engineers has nearly tripled."

1998 December
Jim Saxton _Joint Economic Committee_
Budget Surpluses, Deficits and Government Spending

Cost of Education: Russia vs. other countries
Expense/YearRussiaIndiaAustraliaUSANew Zealand
Donationsnil>15 lakhsnilnilnil
Source: The above figures are in Indian Rupees, are approximate and are obtained from their respective brochures or from reliable sources.   The above figures are indicative and only for the sake of comparison.   Calculated at US$1 = Rs45.00" --- Why Study Medicine in Russia?

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