2005 April

1st month of the 2nd quarter of the 16th year of the Bush-Clinton-Shrub economic depression

jgo Resume Reading Room
jgo Econ Data & Graphs jgo Econ News Bits
Economic News Analysis Summary
Kermit's home page jgo Links
jgo's Work in Progress
Page Bottom

updated: 2018-06-20
2005 April
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30


2005 April

First month of the 2nd quarter of the 16th year of the Bush-Clinton-Shrub economic depression

  "Interesting, rewarding work or a chance to join in a compelling mission now become valuable tools for attracting & keeping talented people." --- R. Laubacher & T. Malone 2000 August "Retreat of the Firm & Rise of the Guilds" MIT Sloan School of Management 21st Century Initiative, Working Paper #33   (quoted in Alistair Cockburn 2002 _Agile Software Development_ pg 65) 


Dice Report: 68,355 job ads

body shop46,238

2005-04-01 14:18PST (17:18EST) (22:18GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Stocks down
"U.S. stocks ended lower Friday amid concern over rising inflation and the prospect of higher interest rates, with American International Group a notable decliner as the insurer's regulatory problems deepened.   The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 99.46 points at 10,404.30, slipping 0.4% on the week.   At one stage, the bench-mark index had been as high as 10,568.93.   The Nasdaq Composite fell 14.42 points to 1,984.81, dipping 0.3% on the week.   The S&P 500 Index fell 7.67 points to 1,172.92, eking out a 0.1% gain on the week.   On the broader market for equities, decliners and advancers were evenly balanced on the New York Stock Exchange, while losers out-paced winners by nearly two to one on the Nasdaq.   Volume was 1.7G on the Big Board, and 1.8G on the Nasdaq."

Michael D. Yates _Monthly Review_
Statistical Portrait of the US Working Class
"workers in the United States have been taking a beating for the past 30 years...   employment remains stagnant and wages are once again falling behind the rise in prices...   tremendous disconnect between productivity gains and wages over the past thirty years...   real wages rose dramatically between 1947 and 1973, then declined over the next twenty-two years before rising again between 1995 and 2003...   CEO pay more than doubled between 1989 and 2003.   The ratio of CEO pay to the wage of the average worker went from 24 in 1967 to 300 in 2000 (212–16)...   The wages of CEOs and their immediate subordinates have risen whether productivity increases (presumably driven by technology according to the mainstream) have been high or low, in corporations both low and high tech, in businesses doing well and in those not doing so well...   in a recent study done for the U.S.-[Red China] Economic and Security Review Commission, researchers Kate Bronfenbrenner and Stephanie Luce found that in the first quarter of 2004 alone as many as 100K jobs (suggesting about 400K per year) were out-sourced.   Their absolute rock-bottom estimate was 25K...   post-Second World War (1947–73) boom in which workers saw both their real wages double and fringe benefits expand in scope and increase in amounts, and in which all income groups from the bottom to the top shared in roughly equal degree the tremendous rise in productivity."

Ephraim Schwartz _InfoWorld_
Discussion of hiring non-US programmers touched off fire-storm
"if it is difficult to get an H-1B visa or a green card for a foreign worker here, then it will drive more companies to go off shore where they can still get -- and here is what I meant -- very good talent...   Why do these companies have to hire anyone on a visa when we have so much talent here?   I don't know the answer to that.   But I intend to find out and report back in my column."

2005-04-01 06:49PST (09:49EST) (14:49GMT)
Maggie McNeil _MarketWatch_
UMich consumer sentiment index dropped from 92.9 to 92.6 in March: From 94.1 in February

2005-04-01 08:45PST (11:45EST) (16:45GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
ISM services index up, factory index down
"The ISM index fell to 55.2% in March from 55.3% in February.   This is the fourth straight month that the index has inched lower after reaching 57.6% in November...   Readings above 50 indicate expansion.   This is the 22nd straight month the index has been above 50.   The price index rose sharply to 73.0% in March from 65.5% in the previous month.   This is the highest level since December.   Economists noted that the increase reflected pressure from the price of crude oil.   The index remains well below its recent peak of 88% last Spring...   The employment index fell to 53.3% from 57.4% in February...   The ISM non-manufacturing index rose to 63.1% from 59.8% in February...   The employment index slipped to 57.1% from a record high 59.6% in February.   The prices paid index slowed to 65.6% from 66.4%."
ISM report

Jeannine Aversa _Madison, WI, Capital Times_
Job growth remains sluggish
"'It wasn't a banner month for the average American worker. We had job growth but not enough to absorb the still large number of unemployed and under-employed people.', said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Economy.com... Pay-roll growth, as measured by a survey of businesses, slowed in March. Job losses at factories and in the retail sector tempered gains in professional and business services, construction, education, and health services and in other industries."


  "All told, [states] appropriate about $40G a year to support students & to provide institutional aid to colleges & universities." --- George Roche 1994 February _The Fall of the Ivory Tower_ pg 70  

Edwin S. Rubenstein _V Dare_
US March Employment Data Show Continued Displacement of American Workers (with graph)


Gloria Irwin _Akron Beacon Journal_
Domestic out-sourcing continues to rise
"When the economy soured, Certified's growth slipped to around 8% -- an enviable growth rate during a downturn that many companies didn't survive...   Certified has been approached by over-seas companies offering to do its data-processing work more cheaply.   The calls from Indian companies were non-stop last year, Shields said.   'We never did it.', Shields said.   'We just were uncomfortable with that kind of (pay-roll) information going off-shore.'...   Certified employs only 4 people to handle the pay-roll generated by 700 customers in 27 states...   Today, about 10% of U.S. programming jobs have been moved to foreign countries, but that number may rise to 25% in the next 5 years, Morello said...   From 2001 January through 2004 May, more than 38K Ohioans lost manufacturing jobs after their employers filed WARN notices, the report found.   More than half -- 20,124 -- of the jobs cut were trade-related, and the bulk of those fell victim to import competition, the union report said.   40% of those trade-related jobs were lost when the manufacturers moved their operations out of the United States...   DeKaser said a disproportionate share of the imports from [Red China] are the kind of products made in the Midwest; at the same time, the Midwest produces little of the products that [Red China] is buying from America."

_Business & Legal Reports_
Governor Rod Blagojevidh recently added his signature to 2 new Illinois laws affecting employers
"Off-shoring: Public Act 93-1081, signed on 2005-02-04, requires companies bidding for state business to certify whether the terms of the contract will be performed in the country.   Before awarding the contract, the state's Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) will review the disclosure statement and estimate the economic impact to the state and its residents if the work is performed outside the country.   Previous state law did not allow this review and analysis.   Vendors who break their pledges to perform work in the United States, and subsequently out-source it, will be deemed in breach of the contract, unless the CPO determines that circumstances required the shift, or that canceling the contract is not in the state's best interest."

Penelope Trunk _Boston Globe_
Grad school is not for everyone
"Whether you're thinking of a top-tier MBA or a PhD in anthropology, there is a right way and a wrong way to approach graduate school.   You need to understand your desires and what is required to achieve them.   Also, you need to understand the market-place and what it values...   'In today's environment, a graduate degree is as important as a college degree a generation ago.'   And get it in your 20s when the degree can get you a better starting job.   'Where you start is very important for where you end up.', he says.   Think hard about the school you choose.   'Top business schools have a premium value.', Challenger says.   'If you attend the third tier, do it at night because the financial loss and career stagnation while you're in school do not out-weigh the benefit of the degree.'...   the academic job market is a nightmare.   Take English literature.   Only 1 out of 5 people who enter PhD programs will get a job in the field...   the Land of Lost Lawyers is full, too...   For some grad school applicants, no amount of practical advice could assuage the impractical feeling of being late for one's own greatness."

Gary Strauss & Barbara Hansen _Florida Today_
CEO pay packages "business as usual": Small evidence CEOs are tempering their own pay
"CEOs pulled in median compensation of about $14M in 2004, up 25% from 2003, according to a USA Today analysis of the largest 100 public companies filing annual proxies through March 25.   Compensation includes salary, bonus, incentives, stock awards, stock-option gains and potential returns from fresh option grants.   Data were provided by executive-pay-tracker eComp Data Services...   Coach's Lew Frankfort pocketed $84M exercising options, and received fresh grants worth more than $130M, while Forest Laboratories' Howard Solomon gained $90.5M from exercising options.   Across a broad cross-section of companies, there was extensive use of income-boosting retention bonuses, supplemental retirement pay and perks ranging from tax reimbursements to personal use of corporate jets.   'Forget restraint.', said Paul Hodgson, analyst for share-holder watch-dog group The Corporate Library.   'After years of moderate gains, it's business as usual.'...   directors remain largely beholden to management when it comes to compensation.   The era of CEO pay packages befitting royalty still reigns...   Standard & Poor's 500 boards averaged 9 audit committee meetings in 2003, up from 7.5 in 2002, the latest years tracked by the Investor Responsibility Research Center.   Compensation committees averaged 5.6 meetings in 2003, vs. 5 in 2002...   Veteran board consultant Ira Kay of Watson Wyatt agrees.   'Keep in mind that what executives are asking for is quite a bit more than what compensation committees are giving.   So it could have been worse.'   But at most companies, CEOs still wield influence over their pay...   'CEOs should take the biggest hits when the company doesn't perform.', said retired Medtronic CEO Bill George, author of _Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value_.   'We get the benefits when business is good.   We should take the biggest hit when it doesn't.'...   Out-placement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas counted 103 CEO departures in February -- the first monthly turn-over of more than 100 CEOs since early 2001 -- and 92 in January...   Many boards try to keep their CEO's pay above median levels, a practice known among pay critics as the Lake Wobegon effect: where most every CEO is considered above average...   Increasingly, shareholders are challenging boards to temper CEO pay.   More than 100 proposals to curb pay, set stringent performance guidelines and limit severance packages are on share-holder ballots this proxy season, said Shirley Westcott of adviser Proxy Governance.   Most boards have resisted similar proposals, contending they limit the ability to attract, retain and motivate management.   Even when such measures have gotten majority share-holder approval, boards often ignore them...   Until regulators require companies to provide more disclosure on pay practices and open up director elections, boards are under no pressure to change, governance experts say.   'Large pay packages continue to touch a raw nerve.', said Harvard professor Lucian Bebchuk, author of 2004's _Pay Without Performance: The Unfulfilled Promise of Executive Compensation_.   'As long as boards are unaccountable, Corporate America won't change and fundamental problems will remain.'"

Karen Dybis _Detroit News_
Long over-looked, graying workers are back in style: more companies welcome the life experience of the over-50 set (graphs)
"A growing number of Metro Detroit companies are making special efforts to find and keep workers older than 50...   Embracing "silver-collar" workers -- after years of pushing them to retire or trashing their resumes -- is now seen by many as smart business...   Troy-based Kelly Services [bodyshops] 60K workers age 50 and older, 14% of its national [stable]...   About 4M of Michigan's 10M residents are older than 45.   By 2012, the Department of Labor estimates that 19 percent of the U.S. work force will be age 55 or older, up from 14.3% in 2002...   Still, many older workers in Metro Detroit have a hard time finding a good-paying job.   Michigan has the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 7.5%, and the thousands who have taken early retirement offers or have been laid off from auto companies have left a glut of older workers...   The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 17,837 age discrimination complaints in 2004, down slightly from the previous 2 years."


Louis Aguilar _Detroit News_
Ailing tool-makers turn to off-shore out-sourcing
"Michigan's tool-and-die firms are gingerly testing the very concept that's destroying them: [off-shore] out-sourcing.   Next month, Royce Mashburn, general manager of Schmald Tool & Die Inc., travels to Chennai, India, to explore teaming up with Indian designers.   Schmald wants to farm out some basic design work to the Indians so the Michigan firm can offer lower prices to customers; foreign shops can undercut American prices by 30% or more...   5 years ago there were more than 57K highly paid tool-and-die workers in Michigan.   As of January, 39K were left, according to the state's Labor Market Information office.   Foreign competition and technological change could eventually kill half of all state tool-and-die jobs, industry analysts say...   The National Tooling & Machining Association estimates 30% of the country's tool-makers have shut their doors since 2000, eliminating more than 100K jobs...   A growing number of the surviving companies makes ends meet by repairing work done by low-cost foreign suppliers.   Most of the companies that died were like Schmald: family-owned shops where fewer than 50 people made dies, molds and other tools needed in factories to build vehicle parts...   'It's really hard to change, because it's just not a fair fight.', said Ray Peche, 52, a Schmald mold maker and journeyman whose drafting desk is decorated with a small American flag.   'We've got designers upstairs who don't work 40 hours a week because we send stuff elsewhere.   This country has so many restrictions by government and insurance costs -- and other countries don't have those things.   Yet our quality is still there.'...   Atlas had to quickly repair the work done by a South Korean tool-and-die supplier for General Motors Corp.'s Saturn division.   The problems with the equipment nearly forced the automaker to shut the assembly line of the Saturn Vue in Spring Hill, TN, Schmidt said.   Riviera Tool Co. in Grand Rapids says it was recently hired by DaimlerChrysler to repair work by another foreign tool-and-die company, said Riviera president Kenneth Rieth.   'We've gotten work fixing tools originally done in Taiwan, Japan and Eastern Europe.', Rieth said.   'Many times, the cost to fix the problem goes well beyond the original price the client thought it would save.   It doesn't make me happy that we get this type of work.   It's a function of disgust about the state of the industry.'"

_San Franisco Chronicle_
Hitachi & Seagate to announce 1TB disk
"Hitachi will report a storage density of 230G bits per square inch, an achievement that would make possible a desktop computer drive capable of storing a trillion bytes of information, roughly twice the capacity of today's disks.   The Hitachi record surpasses a previous advance of 206G bits per square inch announced by the Toshiba Corp. in December."

Jerry Seper _Washington Times_
Minuteman Project rescued an ill illegal alien
"The unidentified man was described as dehydrated and emaciated.   He was turned over by volunteers to US Border Patrol officials and later was returned to Mexico...   the volunteers spotted 18 illegal aliens entering the United States here and called the Border Patrol, which responded in minutes and took the aliens into custody...   Volunteers working a patrol post west of the San Pedro river... confirmed yesterday that they spotted 2 separate groups of aliens, totaling about 25 people, heading north, who turned back when they saw the Minuteman patrols...   More than 40% of the 1.15M aliens apprehended last year by the Border Patrol were caught in this area."

2005-04-04 02:52PDT (05:52EDT) (09:52GMT)
John Wilen _Bucks county Courier_/_Intelligencer_
Employers examining employees' life-styles
"From drug testing, employer interest in worker habits has spread to smoking, drinking, weight gain, inter-office romance, political activity and even online habits.   'There's all kinds of restrictions that employers are placing on employees.', said Jeremy Gruber, legal director of the National WorkRights Institute in Princeton...   'Companies are trying to set guidelines...   if they feel that their costs rise or that productivity is weakened or individual performance is damaged by certain types of conditions.', said John Challenger, CEO of Chicago-based employment research firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas...   Jen Jorgensen, a spokeswoman for the Society for Human Resource Management, in Alexandria, VA, urges caution on the part of employers.   'The last thing you want to do is alienate your employees.', Jorgensen said.   'It's very important that you're not just making decisions on the basis of what's legal, but on the basis of what's beneficial.'...   The more restrictions you place on what your employees can do, the fewer potential job candidates you have."

2005-04-04 11:17:04PDT (14:17:04EDT) (18:17:04GMT)
Norm Matloff _UC Davis_/_H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Action Act: S455
"the reduction in the numbers of foreign students applying to U.S. graduate programs in engineering and science.   I use quotation marks here, because we've always been over-producing PhDs in those fields.   But from the selfish point of view of empire-building universities, the foreign students are crucial for the following sequence of reasons...   The stipend paid to the students, around $16K per year or so, is not enough to attract many American students.   A PhD produces a net loss of earnings life-time for American students, due to having to go 5 years or more on this low stipend and forego industry-level salary during that time. (Building a Workforce for the Information Economy, National Academies Press, 2001)"
Full text & information about S455: ACTION Act of 2005
Norm Matloff on economics of graduate degrees

2005-04-04 13:31PDT (16:31EDT) (20:31GMT)
Aude Lagorce & Lisa Sanders _MarketWatch_
ChevronTexaco buys Unocal for $18G

Paul Craig Roberts _V Dare_
Job Drought Continues
"In the 21st century the US economy has ceased to create jobs in knowledge industries or information technology (IT).   It has been a long time since any jobs were created in export and import-competitive sectors.   The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts no change in the new pattern of US pay-roll job growth.   Out-sourcing and off-shore production have reduced the need for American engineers, scientists, designers, accountants, stock analysts, and other professional skills.  A college degree is no longer a ticket to upward mobility for Americans...   Meanwhile American software engineers go begging for employment, with several hundred thousand unemployed.   I know engineers in their thirties with excellent experience who have been out of work since their jobs were out-sourced 4 or 5 years ago.   One is moving to Thailand to take a job in an out-sourcing operation at $875 a month...   When working with First World capital and technology, foreign labor is just as productive—and a lot cheaper.   This is a new development.   It is not a development covered by the case for free trade...   Now bio-tech and pharmaceutical jobs and innovation itself are being moved off-shore."


2005-04-05 07:22PDT (10:22EDT) (14:22GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US lay-off announcements fell 20% in March: Lowest since last August
"Planned job reductions by major U.S. corporations fell by 20% in March to 86,396, according to a monthly tally released Tuesday by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas...   Through the first quarter, job-cut announcements are up 9.2% year-over-year to 287,184.   Job reductions are on track to exceed 1M for the fifth year in a row...   In March, plant and office closings were the leading cause of job cuts, with 29% of the total.   Mergers and acquisitions, which had been the leading cause in February, fell back to 14% of the total from 43% in February.   Government and non-profit organizations cut the most workers in March, followed closely by the aerospace and defense industry.   Retail, computer and transportation industries rounded out the top 5."

2005-04-05 08:00PDT (11:00EDT) (15:00GMT)
Joe Duarte _MarketWatch_/_Intelligent Forecasts_
Oil, housing & Red China could all crash
"Uneven growth rates in the United States, Europe, and Japan especially compared to [Red China] are setting up a dangerous situation in a competitive world dependent on oil...   As Europe flounders in its self-inflicted bowl of economic soup, and Japan muddles along, [Red China] continues to out-pace them all, fed by still relatively low interest rates, and international capital searching for growth...   for those who believe that [Red China's] economy addicted to cheap money, the withdrawal syndrome will be painful when it happens...   [Red Chinese] 'debt is extremely vulnerable to interest rate hikes.   As rates rise, that debt will become impossible to maintain, and [Red China] will face the beginnings of a financial crisis.'...   After 9/11 the Fed flooded the world with dollars.   Much of that money went to [Red China], driven by the growth rates of the Chinese economy, and escaping what some thought would be a major Depression scenario in the United States.   That dramatic change in the flow of capital is responsible for [Red China's] seemingly endless expansion.   The net effect is that the world economy is now used to cheap credit, and is booming, especially in emerging markets like India, and [Red China].   In the United States, million dollar homes are being financed with adjustable rates and low interest only mortgage payments.   But the Federal Reserve, and more recently, the European Central Bank are concerned about possible inflation."

2005-04-05 08:35PDT (11:35EDT) (15:35GMT)
Andrea Stone & Barbara Slavin _USA Today_
Israel considers barring Palestinian workers
"The proposal comes as the international community is trying to bolster the Palestinian economy in the West Bank and Gaza.   Unemployment and poverty there have soared since the Palestinian intifada, or up-rising, began in 2000 September...   Before the Palestinian up-rising began, 150K Palestinians worked inside Israel...   The UN says Palestinian unemployment rose from 10% in 2000 September to 40% now.   Joblessness is even higher in Gaza, at 68%."

2005-04-05 15:27PDT (18:27EDT) (22:27GMT) Jeffrey McMurray _Business Week_
Textile industry to seek more limits on imports
"the textile industry is expected this week to formally ask the government to curb the [Red Chinese] surge in as many as 11 other textile and clothing items.   The administration [agreed Monday] to launch investigations into whether [Red China] was disrupting American sales of cotton knit shirts and blouses, cotton trousers and underwear made of cotton and man-made fibers...   Quotas on virtually all textile and apparel items were lifted January 1 as a condition of [Red China's] new membership in the World Trade Organization.   According to the Commerce Department, [Red China] shipped 84.5M cotton knit shirts to the United States in the first three months of this year, an increase of 1,258 percent from the same period a year ago.   Another government report last week showed the loss of 7,600 textile and apparel jobs, bringing job losses for the industry to 17,200 this year.   'Until the Chinese decide to compete fairly, it will be up to us to do what we can to further protect our manufacturing base and ensure we keep the good paying jobs we already have.', said representative Mike Rogers, R-AL...   Also Tuesday, the Government Accountability Office criticized the Bush administration for delays in responding to the industry's threat complaints."

Carolyn Lochhead _San Francisco Chronicle_
Small drop in foreign students called threat to education, economy & security
"California, the leading host state for international students, saw a 4% drop in the 2003-2004 academic year to 77,186, the Institute of International Education reported. Nationwide, the number of international students at U.S. educational institutions fell 2.4% to 572,509 during the same period...   University education is a significant U.S. [industry], earning about $13G [from foreign students] a year, about the same as medical equipment and supplies."

Eric Chabrow _Information Week_
Pranksters apparently slipped LSD into water coolers at CMP
"Dig deeper into the numbers, and you'll see that the unemployment rate for all 8 IT job categories is below the average rate [since the depression began, but have yet far from recovering to pre-depression levels]."

_Electronics News_/_Electronics Weekly_
Electronic design automation saw 3% rise
"The electronic design automation (EDA) industry saw revenue for 2004 Q4 grow just 3% to $1.08G from 2003 Q4, as full year 2004 revenue reached $4.02bn, also 3% above $3.91G in 2003, the EDA Consortium reported today...   Employment figures were up 10% in Q4 over the same quarter in 2003.   The EDA industry's largest tool category -- computer-aided engineering (CAE) -- generated revenue of $523M in Q4, 9% above 2003 Q4.   CAE revenue for 2004 totaled $1.92G, a 5% increase over 2003."

Christine Balbo Reed _Salinas Californian_
Whistle-blower won wrongful termination suit against Lawrence Livermore National Lab and University of California
"Last month, a jury in Alameda County awarded a former Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory technician $2.1M, finding she was wrongfully fired for testifying on behalf of a co-worker who reported being sexually harassed.   Such an action by an employee is sometimes referred to as 'whistle-blowing'...   This case took 8 years to reach a conclusion because it twice went to trial."

Jordan Weissmann _Daily Northwestern_
After 2001-09-11, career prospects withered for many college grads
"The Class of 2002 entered college in the midst of the 1990s technology boom, when employment seemed literally a click away on Monster.com.   They left facing the most daunting job market in at least a decade...   In fact, Janik thought he might still be able to fly to New York for his interview.   Soon, reality set in...   repeatedly browsed the same few web sites for job postings.   He said he filled out hundreds of job applications without receiving a single response..."

_Computer Weekly_
Cyber-Crime, Age Discrimination & Business Continuity

_IT Facts_
Only 33% of firms plan to add workers in 2005 Q2


2005-04-05 22:00PDT (2005-04-06 01:00EDT) (05:00GMT)
_World Net Daily_
Minutemen report 141 illegal aliens so far: New Mexico official hopes to see volunteer project expand
"In its second day of operations, the civilian volunteer Minuteman Project claimed to have aided the Border Patrol in the apprehension of 141 illegal aliens along the Arizona border and deterred many more from attempting to cross from Mexico...   [Santa Fe, NM city council member David] Pfeffer said he would 'absolutely' be willing to get involved with a New Mexico citizen border-patrol project.   As for carrying a weapon, Pfeffer said he "wouldn't go out there unarmed.   There is a Mexican drug cartel that has threatened peoples' lives because of this.', Pfeffer said.   'The smugglers that come across the borders will shoot at you.   So no, I don't think it's unreasonable to think that some people have armed themselves.'...   Hundreds of the citizen volunteers, armed with binoculars and radios, are casting themselves as the eyes and ears of the Border Patrol... rank-and-file agents have been spotted thanking the Minutemen for their presence...   The Minutemen are [standing watch along] a 23-mile stretch of the border where 1 out of every 5 of the 1.1M illegal immigrants arrested last year crossed into the U.S., according to Border Patrol statistics...   Tom Tancredo, leader of the House Immigration Reform Caucus, and a supporter of the Minuteman Project says the Department of Homeland Security's decision to send 500 more Porder Patrol agents to the troubled area last week is no coincidence...   'If we secure the Arizona border, then we will see a massive shift... to New Mexico border.', he says.   'And then if we secure the New Mexico border, we'll see a massive shift to the Texas border.   So it goes until you actually seal the border.'   Tancredo says a security fence, like that built by the Israelis and many other countries, is a 'perfectly acceptable, low-tech method of trying to stop people from coming into your country without your knowledge'.   Tancredo says even though Congress has passed legislation authorizing 2K more agents per year for the next 5 years, the Bush administration does not want to hire them."

2005-04-06 09:31PDT (12:31EDT) (16:31GMT)
Jim Jelter _MarketWatch_
Gasoline prices expected to continue soaring through the year
"Soaring global prices for crude oil, continued strong fuel demand, and a refining industry already running flat out are seen keeping gasoline prices near or even above current record highs...   Analysts said the EIA [Energy Information Administration], part of the Energy Department, will likely predict a 1.5% to 2% rise in gasoline demand this summer, pretty much in line with their 2% estimate last year.   That would put the nation's gasoline consumption at about 9.5M barrels per day, up from 9.32M a year ago.   (One barrel equals 42 gallons.)"

_All American Patriots_
Reuters journalists protest off-shore out-sourcing to India
Washington Times
"S. employees of Reuters Group Plc will protest the off-shore out-sourcing of editorial jobs on Thursday as their union begins its legal challenge to the company's attempt to cover Wall Street from Bangalore, India, the Newspaper Guild of New York said.   The Guild's charge that off-shoring U.S.-based editorial jobs violates its contract with Reuters will be heard before an independent arbitrator, whose decision is binding.   The case could take months to complete.   As the lawyers square off, journalists and other employees will picket Reuters U.S. head-quarters in Times Square and other U.S. bureaus at lunch-time to call attention to the dispute.   'Instead of focusing on producing the highest quality news, Reuters is now focused on producing the cheapest news.', said New York Guild President Barry Lipton.   'This change is not just bad for our members, it's bad for Reuters and its clients.'"

Chris O'Brien & K. Oanh Ha _San Jose Mercury News_/_Fort Wayne News-Sentinel_
More than 5 years later, still mourning the dot-com crash
The State
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
Lexington Herald-Leader
Charlotte Observer
"Somehow, the future just doesn't seem as exciting as it did back then...   Five years after the dot-com bust, the valley is still haunted by the reminders of its recent past.   The vacant offices.   The relentless job cuts.   The exodus of the unemployed.   The bitter investors who lost billions.   The exorbitant housing prices...   The numbers alone don't capture the lingering impact on Silicon Valley's psyche.   The region's image, the way it sees itself and the way others see it, has been bruised.   The credibility it once had with investors and customers has turned to distrust.   And the culture of risk-taking is now tempered with caution.   So far, the valley hasn't lost its famous sense of optimism, its faith that technology and innovation will lead to a better future.   But that faith is being tested by a down-turn far more grim than anyone could have predicted...   According to one study, the telecom industry so over-built during the boom that today only 10% of the 39M miles of fiber-optic cable buried underground in the United States is being used.   [And BS Alarms went off all over the world on that one, as end-users remain starved for faster data transfer rates.]...   VCs raised just $17G in new funds from investors in 2004, down from $106G in 2000...   In 2004, total venture capital invested rose for the first time in three years, to $20.9G from $18.9G.   But the amount being invested in the risky, early-stage companies continues to lag...   There are fewer jobs today in Santa Clara County -- 842K -- than there were in 1995...   The result is a new pragmatism among many employees who once willingly worked insane hours while dreaming of IPO riches.   At game software maker Electronic Arts, employees recently filed a law-suit demanding to be paid over-time for their long hours."

Michael Yeomans _Pittsburgh Tribune-Review_
Marconi cuts another 100 from routing unit
"Marconi Corp. Plc, which employed about 1,600 on its futuristic campus in Marshall about five years ago, has just 350 local employees remaining after the company laid off about 100 people this week from its local Broadband Switching and Routing business.   In its quarterly report in February, the company said the broadband routing division saw sales decline to $56 million, down from $81 million in the year-earlier period, due to lower spending by the federal government, its largest customer.   Marconi had about 750 Pittsburgh-based employees remaining as of two years ago, when it turned over control of the company to its creditors in exchange for erasing $6G in debt racked up during the company's late 1990s telecommunication acquisition binge...   The local unit's top executive, Joe Pajer, resigned abruptly in January."


2005-04-07 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
unemployment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 289,418 in the week ending April 2, a decrease of 2,712 from the previous week.   There were 304,249 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.3% during the week ending March 26, unchanged from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,961,648, an increase of 47,082 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 2.6% and the volume was 3,310,942."

Dan Thomas _Personnel Today_
Gartner preducts continuing IT out-sourcing boom
"The worldwide market for business process out-sourcing (BPO) will reach £71bn in 2005, up 8% from 2004, analyst firm Gartner has predicted.   In Europe, spending on BPO, which covers IT-intensive business processes such as HR and accounting, will remain strong and is on course to reach £19bn this year, an increase of 6.6% from 2004...   Separate Gartner research has predicted that the number of IT jobs out-sourced to India, [Red China] and other lower-cost countries from the world's advanced economies will reach 30% by 2015."

2005-04-07 08:22PDT (11:22EDT) (15:22GMT)
Stephanie J. Cohen _MarketWatch_
DOE sees oil prices staying above $50 per barrel
"Demand for petroleum in the U.S. is expected to average 20.9M barrels a day in 2005, up 1.7% from 2004 levels, the agency said. When oil prices rise, the impact can be felt throughout the economy... On Thursday, the EIA forecast that U.S. gasoline prices will average $2.28 a gallon this summer, a jump of 38 cents a gallon over the average price last summer [as compared to about $1.00 per gallon, including state and federal extortion, in the Winter of 1998-1999]."
EIA historical statistics

2005-04-07 10:58PDT (13:58EDT) (17:58GMT)
William L. Watts _MarketWatch_
Sugar is wild-card in CAFTA: Sugar-state congress-critters may withhold support
"The Bush administration has gone far enough to reassure U.S. sugar producers that they won't be decimated by imports if Congress passes the Central America Free Trade Agreement, a top trade law-maker said Thursday.   But it's not yet clear how many sugar-state lawmakers will back the treaty, which is certain to be the 'most important' trade vote of the year, said representative Clay Shaw, R-FL, the chairman of the House Ways and Means subcommittee on international trade...   The pact with El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic...   The agreement includes some safeguards for the U.S.   sugar industry.   The United States can restrict imports from the CAFTA countries if it fears destabilization of the U.S. sugar industry.   The United States would, however, have to pay compensation to the affected countries."

_Economic Times of India_ UK elections may hold up BPO deals as companies fear offending electorate

John Ribeiro _ComputerWorld_
Indian call center workers charged with defrauding Citibank account-holders: 12 arrested
"Former employees of a call center in Pune, India, were arrested this week on charges of defrauding 4 Citibank account holders in New York, to the tune of $300K, a police official said...   charged with collecting and misusing account information from customers they dealt with as part of their work at the call center, according to Sanjay Jadhav, chief of the cyber-crime cell of the Pune police...   The three former employees and their accomplices then used the services of SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) to transfer funds from these accounts to their own accounts and fake accounts that were created for this purpose in Pune, he added...   Police arrested 12 people, 3 of whom were employees of Mphasis BPO in Pune until December last year.   [This was a show arrest to make people think that their financial information, etc., sent to India, will be seriously guarded by the Indian government.]"

Nancy Tubbs _Software Development Forum_
US Venture Capital Is Going Off-Shore
"More US VC's are looking at off shore technology start ups and Establishing partnerships with off shore Venture Capital firms.   This exciting Passport Group event has attracted a group of some of the Valley's leading VC's who have invested in off shore technology companies.   Listen to why they invested in the companies, what model they used, how the deal was done and why the companies' off-shore roots were not a deterrent for investing."

Information on Criminal Aliens Incarcerated in Federal and State Prisons and Local Jails (pdf)
"At the federal level, the number of criminal aliens incarcerated increased from about 42K at the end of calendar year 2001 to about 49K at the end of calendar year 2004 -- a 15% increase.   The percentage of all federal prisoners who are criminal aliens has remained the same over the last 3 years -- about 27%.   The majority of criminal aliens incarcerated at the end of calendar year 2004 were identified as citizens of Mexico...   At the state level, the 50 states received reimbursement for incarcerating about 77K criminal aliens in fiscal year 2002 and 47 states received reimbursement for incarcerating about 74K in fiscal year 2003...   At the local level, in fiscal year 2002, SCAAP reimbursed about 750 local governments for incarcerating about 138K criminal aliens.   In fiscal year 2003, SCAAP reimbursed about 700 local governments for about 147K criminal aliens...   Data represent only a portion of the total population of criminal aliens who may be incarcerated at the state [and local levels], since SCAAP does not reimburse states [and localities] for all criminal aliens...   [42,424 of 154,290 (27.5%) federal prisoners were aliens in 2001, 44,073 of 161,110 (27.4%) in 2002, 46,063 of 170,365 (27%) in 2003, and 48,708 of 178,512 (27.3%) in 2004.]"


2005-04-07 17:10:28PDT (20:10:28EDT) (2005-04-08 00:10:28GMT)
Norm Matloff _UC Davis_/_H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
PR campaign to increase numbers of foreign graduate students reaching full swing
"The tech industry hires the foreign-student graduates of U.S. universities under the H-1B visa program as a source of cheap labor, thus greatly reducing job opportunities for Americans...   We are (and have been) over-producing PhDs ([both] foreign and domestic) in engineering and science.   This has been well documented.   We are over-producing Master's degrees too...   We have tons of engineers and scientists today are who unemployed, or more typically, under-employed...working in jobs outside of engineering/science, such as driving a school bus...   [There are] 3 groups with extremely strong vested interests here: universities, industry and immigration lobbyists...   the entire research/monetary empire in many universities is in danger of being scaled way, way back...   The stipend paid to the students, around $16K per year or so, is not enough to attract very many American students [but plenty to attract foreign students, when the chance to get green-cards is thrown in]...   The percentage drops in [total, graduate and under-graduate] foreign student enrollment...4% and 2.4% are small, so why is the tone from the universities so alarmist?...   the U.S. tech job market is awful now, and the foreign students are savvy enough to see that this poor job market here will be permanent, due to off-shoring and the H-1B program...   in order [for university administrators] to be able to continue to 'live the good life' they've had, they need to make extraordinary efforts.   [Similarly, industry has a vested interest in cheap labor, and immigration lawyers have a vested interest in seeing more visa applications.]"
Drop in foreign students called threat to education, economy & security
2004 article on CS Academic Establishment

S. Mitra Kalita _Washington Post_
Confusion Over Cap on H-1B Visas
"As of yesterday, agency officials said Homeland Security and the Office of Management and Budget were still reviewing the criteria for the [additional] 20K visas.   Christopher S. Bentley, a spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration Services, said businesses will have to wait for guidance advising them on who qualifies and how to apply...   [In the 1990s] the industry lobbied Congress hard to increase the number of foreign workers they could hire, successfully increasing the cap to as high as 195K [temporarily]...   Last year, the cap on H-1B visas returned to 65K...   lobbying efforts to raise the H-1B cap have resumed...   Critics of the visa program say employers aren't looking hard enough in the United States and have used the program to import cheaper labor.   They accuse these same employers of [failing to comply with] the program's mandate to pay workers a 'prevailing wage'...   About a dozen people, or 40% of Technology Ventures staff, are H1-B visa holders, [Jitendra] Vyas [CEO] said...   Over the next year, the data-integration company plans to hire as many as 100 programmers in Pune, a city about 120 miles from Bombay.   The strategy sounds familiar to Petee.   Last year, of Granite Services' 2K employees in the United States, 35 held H-1B visas."

2005-04-08 10:15:57PDT (13:15:57EDT) (17:15:57GMT)
Norm Matloff _UC Davis_/_H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Re: Washington Post article on H-1B
"The article notes the recent announcement by USCIS that the new 20K-visa category enacted by Congress last December could go this fiscal year to any foreign national with a Bachelor's degree, rather than being restricted to those with Master's or PhD degrees.   (See my recent posting on this)...   Congress has always acted to expand the H-1B program whenever the business community has demanded it (1998, 2000, 2004)...   Congress has literally allowed itself to be bought off, by Congress' own admission.   In the 2000 expansion, which the Senate voted for by a margin of 96-1, senator Robert Bennett (R-UT) remarked, 'There were, in fact, a whole lot of folks against [the bill], but because they are tapping the high-tech community for campaign contributions, they don't want to admit that in public.'   Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), said, 'This is not a popular bill with the public.   It's popular with the CEOs...   This is a very important issue for the high-tech executives who give the money.'   Rep. Davis was chair of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee...   As pointed out by professor Hira in the article (the one quote in the article from an H-1B critic), the prevailing wage provisions in H-1B law and regulations are so riddled with loop-holes that they are useless.   Granite Services, the company quoted extensively in this article, claims in the forms they submitted to the Dept. of Labor that the prevailing wage for a data-base administrator is only $39K!   That shows how utterly ridiculous the prevailing wage formulas are... they paid their H-1B DBA $59K... according to government data.   The engineering-oriented industries, which are the closest categories to the type of work Granite does, have mean DBA salaries ranging from $71K to $76K... Technology Ventures, hired 10 programmers at $15.52/hr in 1999 in DC, a high-wage region, and 10 more in New York, an even higher-wage region, at $16.56. The latter works out to $33K per year, at a time when the nationwide mean for even new graduates in the field was in the mid-$40s, and far more for experienced people."

2005-04-08 14:28PDT (17:28EDT) (21:28GMT)
Susan Lerner _MarketWatch_
Stocks fell after profit warnings
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 84.98 points, or 0.8%, at 10,461.34.   For the week, the blue chip gauge was up 0.5% -- its first weekly gain since the week ended March 4.   The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 19.44 points, or 1%, to close at 1,999.35.   For the week, it gained 0.7%.   The S&P 500 surrendered 9.94 points, or 0.8%, to finish at 1,181.20 but was up 0.7% on the week...   Crude [petroleum] futures, meanwhile, fell for their fifth straight day.   The May contract closed down 79 cents at $53.32 [per] barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, as it continued to pull back from [the] all-time high of $58.28 touched Monday."

2005-04-08 05:48PDT (08:48EDT) (12:48GMT)
WM's former vice chair may have used expense funds to make illegal anti-union payments
"WM Stores Inc.'s former vice chairman may have used undocumented expense payments to pay for anti-union activities, _The Wall Street Journal_ reported Friday.   Thomas Coughlin resigned from the world's largest retailer in March after WM found what it said was a pattern of expense-account abuses and the use of false invoices to obtain reimbursements...   Coughlin told several WM employees that the money was actually being used for anti-union activities, including paying union staffers to tell him of pro-union workers in stores, the newspaper said, citing people familiar with the matter...   If Coughlin did pay union staffers for information, it would represent a criminal offense under U.S. federal law.   WM has strongly opposed unions since its foundation.   The U.S. attorney for the Western District of Arkansas is investigating the matter, the Journal reported."


  "Part of your humanness is your ability both to invent new sentences & to comprehend the verbal inventions of other people." --- Richard Lederer 1991 _The Miracle of Language_ pg 17  



2005-04-10 05:01PDT (08:01EDT) (12:01GMT)
Alexa Olesen _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Red Chinese Government Choreographed Anti-Japan Protests Over the Week-End
WOAI San Antonio
Inside Bay Area
"Anti-Japan protests erupted for a second day in [Red China] on Sunday, as Tokyo demanded an apology and better protection for its citizens and diplomats after demonstrators smashed windows and threw eggs at the Japanese embassy.   Demonstrations against Japan have spread in [Red China] since Tokyo approved a new history text-book that critics say glosses over atrocities by Japan's military...   Beijing denounced the decision, calling the book 'poison' for youthful minds in Japan."

Ed Garsten & Christine Tierney _Detroit News_
Auto firms recruit engineers: Advances in fuel cells, computerization & hybrids spur demand for skilled personnel
"Auto-makers and parts suppliers may be down-sizing and shedding white-collar jobs, but engineers with the right skills and experience are in demand and landing auto industry positions.   Emerging technology such as gasoline-electric hybrids, fuel cells and nanotechnology, as well as the growing computerization of cars and trucks and safety advances are creating new automotive engineering disciplines.   Expected automotive job growth 2002-2012:
engineers, 10.5%
Industrial engineers, 23.2%
Mechanical engineers, 5.2%
Drafting, engineering and mapping technicians, 13%
Commercial-industrial designers, 11%
(Source: BLS)
The BLS predicts automotive engineering employment will increase 14% to about 127,400 positions by 2010, up from 91K in 2002, compared with an expected 2.6% increase in overall automotive employment during the period...   Still, engineers with experience in emerging markets are prime job candidates, said Bob Millman, owner of Auto Pro Technical Recruiting, which recruits engineers and purchasing experts for auto suppliers.   'I'm looking for people like that now for suppliers that get components manufactured in [Red China] or are setting up operations in [Red China].', said Millman, who has filled 2 such positions at local suppliers in the past 2 months.   'The Big Three (automakers) are forcing their suppliers to go to [Red China], so if you've dealt with [Red Chinese] manufacturers, you'll bring experience to your company.'   Over the past few years, some engineering jobs have migrated overseas as automakers and suppliers set up technical and research centers in foreign countries such as India.   [Look for car prices to stabilize while quality drops.]"

2005-04-10 16:53PDT (19:53EDT) (23:53GMT)
Lundberg says gasoline price may be peaking
"Between March 18 and Friday, the average retail gasoline price increased about 19 cents to $2.32 per gallon, according to Trilby Lundberg, who publishes the survey of 7,K gas stations across the U.S.A.   The highest average gas price in the nation for regular unleaded was $2.62 a gallon in Bakersfield, Calif., and the lowest price was $2.06 in Newark, NJ, according to media reports on the current Lundberg survey.   Self-serve regular averaged $2.29 a gallon; mid-grade, $2.38; and premium, $2.48, Lundberg reported."


2005-04-10 17:00PDT (20:00EDT) (2005-04-11 00:00GMT)
Dan Monk _NBC_/_Cincinnati Business Courier_
H-1B back-lash: Companies abusing visa program meant for super-stars only
"She's been working on a statistical model that can forecast all labor costs associated with the recruitment of a new researcher or medical specialist.   And she's starting a one-year study of nurses in the United States and over-seas, hoping to quantify why nurses are leaving the profession.   For Guo, the work is precisely what she had in mind when she left [Red China] in 1999 to study business at the University of Akron...   roughly 1K companies that operate in Cincinnati sought permission to hire more than 18K foreign employees in the last 5 years.   Consulting firms, universities and medical organizations are the biggest [abusers] of the program...   The 50-year-old Fairfield resident is 9 months into a so-far fruitless job search.   An Army veteran with a master's degree and more than 2 decades' experience as a project manager, Westerman is convinced that his hunt for employment has been impeded by the ready availability of cheap foreign labor...   Similar tales of woe are being circulated by displaced computer programmers from the northeastern states to Silicon Valley.   Grass-roots groups like The Organization for the Rights of American Workers (www.toraw.org) and web-based campaigns, such as zazona.com and h1b.info, are railing against the [abuse] of work visas and off-shoring by U.S. companies...   Sometimes companies file an LCA for a single job; other times they file a single application for 50 to 100 similar positions...   The University of Cincinnati employs a 'couple hundred' H-1B visa recipients at any given time, while records indicate it has filed 501 applications for 530 positions since 2001.   The clinical trials firm Kendle International Inc. has filed 33 applications for 249 positions, but the company said in a statement that it employs 'approximately 20 associates on H-1B visas, including clinical research associates and biostatisticians'...   Cincinnati-based out-sourcing company Convergys Corp. has filed 108 applications under 15 different names, seeking permission to hire 1,323 people in Ohio, Florida, Utah and Texas.   It has filled computer analyst positions, as well as marketing staffers, statisticians, associates and consultants.   Convergys would not say how many H-1B workers it employs...   Cushing said the H-1B visa program is a valuable tool for the university, which has trouble finding post-doctoral researchers willing to work in the United States on an academic [i.e. below-market] salary."
WikiPedia: Convergys is a privacy-violation firm derived from the Cincinnati Bell local government-enforced monopoly and its privacy-violation arm, Cincinnati Bell Information Systems, together with MATRIXX/AT&T Solutions Customer Care/AT&T Transtech, DigitalThink, Intervoice, Datacom call center operations, Stream Global Services; with subsidiary operations including Infinys Rating and Billing (IRB), Dynamic Decisioning Solution (DDS), ICOMS, Customer Management Solutions

2005-04-11 07:42PDT (10:42EDT) (14:42GMT)
Tech job cuts hit 5-quarter high: Losses in tech sector account for 20.7% of all jobs lost in 2005 Q1
"Heavy job cutting in the telecommunications and computer sectors pushed first-quarter job cuts to 59,537, up 3.2 percent from the previous quarter and more than double the number of cuts in the year-ago period, the Challenger report said...   '92% of the 1st-quarter telecom job cuts resulted from mergers.'"

NY one of 5 least tax-friendly states in 2005
"Topping the list of least tax-friendly places is Maine.   Its No. 1 ranking results from the great disparity between the fact that it is one of the lowest income states in the country yet has one of the highest rankings in terms of tax collection, said Curtis Dubay, an economist with the Tax Foundation.   The District of Columbia comes in second, due in part to a high individual income tax -- the top rate is 9.3% for income above $30K.   New York, meanwhile, maintains its usual high ranking thanks to an average sales tax of about 8% when average state and local rates are combined, plus the option to levy a local income tax, which is one of the reasons New York City is among the least tax-friendly cities in the country.   In fact, the revenue generated by local taxes levied across New York account for about half of all tax revenue collected in the state, Dubay said."

2005-04-11 12:42PDT (15:42EDT) (19:42GMT)
William L. Watts _MarketWatch_
Bankruptcy bill on its way "It took nearly a decade, but credit card companies and other lenders are set to gain a major victory this week if the House of Representatives, as is widely expected, passes legislation that will make it tougher for consumers to avoid repaying debts by filing for bankruptcy."

Alorie Gilbert _CNET_/_TechRepublic_
Tech industry slashing US jobs again
Sacramento Business Journal
Silicon Valley
IESE pdf
"Technology companies [announced cuts of] nearly 60K U.S. jobs in the first 3 months of the year, twice the number trimmed in the same period last year and the biggest loss of jobs in the sector since late 2003, according to a new report.   The telecommunications industry accounted for the bulk of the cuts, with more than 35K lay-offs in the first quarter, said out-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which issued the report Monday.   The computer industry laid off about 16,100 workers."

Federal Reserve Board: attractive people get paid about 5% more than average
"Economists also found that women considered obese in terms of their body mass index (BMI) in both 1981 and 1988 earned 17% less than women within their recommended BMI range.   And while weight seemed to dog women, short men get the short end of the stick.   Economists found a 'height premium' among white men, with a 1.8% increase in wages for every additional inch of height over the national median. "


2005-04-11 21:01PDT (2005-05-12 00:01EDT) (04:01GMT)
Irwin Kellner _MarketWatch_
Spring brake on the economy: Rising government extortions, Fed interest rates & petroleum are adding up to a down economy
"The fact remains that as many as 3M families are paying an average of $6K more in taxes to Washington than they might have expected.   These are families who earn between $100K and $300K, the bulwarks of the consumer sector.   The culprit, of course, is the alternative minimum tax, which is slowly but surely eating away at a lot of the tax cuts that President Bush has had enacted since he became president, more than 4 years ago...   incomes subject to this tax have not been adjusted for inflation."

2005-04-12 02:15PDT (05:15EDT) (09:15GMT)
Emily Bazar _Sacramento Bee_
Worker shortage propaganda campaign continues
"The federal government [congress] initially said the new batch of [20K additional] H-1B visas -- which could be available within days -- must be awarded to graduates of U.S. universities with master's degrees or higher.   But in March, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) announced that the additional visas will not be limited to applicants with advanced degrees...   Kim Berry, a Citrus Heights resident who is president of the Programmers Guild [said] 'There's no provision that qualified Americans should be considered first when these visas are granted.'..."

2005-04-12 06:55PDT (09:55EDT) (13:55GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Trade deficit hit record $61G in February: Red Chinese textile imports up 62.4%
"The widening trade deficit in February was fueled by a 1.6% rise in imports of goods and services, which totaled a record $161.5G in the second month of the year...   The U.S. trade deficit with [Red China] widened to $13.9G in February compared with $8.3G in the same month last year.   The February deficit is lower than the $15.3G deficit in January.   In February, imports of textiles from [Red China] rose 9.8% to $2.08G from the previous month.   In the first 2 months of the year, Chinese textile imports are up 62.4% from the same period in 2004...   The U.S. petroleum deficit widened 8% to $16.4G.   The U.S. imported 296.9M barrels of crude oil in February, or 10.6M barrels per day, compared with 322.8M or 10.4M barrels in January."
BEA report

2005-04-12 10:43PDT (13:43EDT) (17:43GMT)
Rex Crum _MarketWatch_
Tiger to be released April 29: Mac OS X has over 200 new features at $129 price

_High Plains Journal_
Bio-Diesel Fuel Production Could Get Cheaper
"Michael Haas, a biochemist with the ARS Eastern Regional Research Center's Fats, Oils and Animal Coproducts Research Unit in Wyndmoor, PA, has developed a new approach to synthesizing biodiesel.   Soybean oil is the prevalent starting material in the United States for bio-diesel, and its relatively high cost results in a high cost for this renewable fuel.   The method developed by Haas and his colleagues eliminates the use of hexane, an air pollutant regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, from the production of soy oil for biodiesel synthesis.   Hexane, a colorless, flammable liquid derived from petroleum, is traditionally used to extract vegetable oil triglycerides from the raw agricultural material before biodiesel production.   The new method eliminates the conventional oil extraction step.   Instead, the oil-seed is incubated with methanol and sodium hydroxide, which are currently used to process extracted oil."

Adelle Larmour _Northern Ontario Business_
Jill of all trades wanted: While hundreds of thousands of tech workers remain unemployed, propagandists still push for more to enter field
"During the 1990s, women accounted for 57% of growth in university qualifications. Similarly 59% of new college graduates were women, according the the Statistics Canada's 2001 census. Yet, despite an overall increase in numbers of women attending post-secondary institutions, the majority of choices remain outside the science, engineering, trades and technological fields of study... With a four-year-old daughter to support, the job prospects for millwrights enticed her into the field... Lindsay Moreau, a mining engineer graduate of Laurentian University, is an Engineer in Training (EIT) Inco employee. She is just a few months shy of her four years work experience and approval from the provincial governing body before receiving an engineer's status. She is in a career that represents only 9% of women, based upon an estimated 172K members in engineering associations nationwide, according to the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers (CCPE) web site... The Canadian Coalition for Women in Engineering, Science, Trades and Technology (CCWESTT) is an advocacy organization to increase women's participation, retention and leadership in science, engineering, trades and technology (SETT) throughout Canada."

Ephraim Schwartz _InfoWorld_/_IDG_
H-1B visa issue revisited: Real advantage of foreign over US citizens may be nothing more than cheap labor
"I put that question to Norm Matloff, professor of computer science at the University of California at Davis.   'It boils down to cheap labor.', he says.   Matloff says that there are many ways to under-pay H-1B workers.   One is to not recognize a particular skill set.   For example, if wireless communications are hot, the employer might have to pay more for a US worker with those skills.   Instead, the employer can hire H-1B employees and calculate their wages based on those of generic workers.   'You get an expert for the cost of a regular programmer.'...   wages are tied to jobs instead of workers.   The implication is that you can get an employee with an advanced degree for the price of [someone with a BS], provided your job description says your minimum requirement is a bachelor's degree...   hiring younger workers, who traditionally cost less than older ones...   'In essence, the H-1B program is fueling rampant age discrimination.'...   'ethnic hiring' is a fact of life.   Russians hire Russians, he says, and Chinese hire Chinese -- if for no other reason than that they understand the language and the culture of the people with whom they'll be working.   Matloff also believes employers favor employees working on visas because they are fairly immobile.   An employee who's been sponsored for a green card won't be so quick to jump ship to a better position somewhere else, if it means starting the green-card application process over again.   Kim Berry, president of the Programmers Guild...the Department of Labor relies on the attestations of employers to certify that American workers were not laid off to hire foreign workers and that foreign workers are paid the prevailing wage.   In addition, employers can choose from a variety of studies to determine what the prevailing wage really is."

T.K. Maloy _Science Digest_
US tech jobs taking a hit
"Employment in the U.S. high-tech sector is taking a hit, with the rate of cuts in technology jobs slightly more than double from a year ago.   According to the global out-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, heavy job cutting in the telecommunications and computer areas helped push first-quarter 2005 tech-sector job cuts to 59,537 or their highest total since the fourth quarter of 2003, when cuts in the sector totaled 82,328.   In the firm's latest technology-jobs report, the cuts announced in telecommunications, computer, electronics and e-commerce firms were more than double -- 202% -- the 29,513 cuts announced in the sector during the same quarter last year.   The nearly 60,000 cuts in the tech sector represent around 21% of the 287,134 cuts announced by all U.S. industries during the first quarter, reported the Chicago-based Challenger.   A year ago, the technology sector accounted for just 11% of the 262,840 first-quarter job cuts...   According to a recent report by the research firm Gartner Inc. in Stamford, CT, the number of IT jobs out-sourced from the United States is expected to increase from less than 5% of current total U.S. information technology jobs to 30% by 2015."

_Silicon Valley_
So do you find those 20 years of telecom experience helpful here at Circuit City?
"Technology companies added nearly 60K people to the Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment data-base in the first 3 months of 2005, twice the number added in the same period last year. That's the highest quarterly figure since 82,328 tech workers were sacked in the fourth quarter of 2003, according to a report issued Monday by out-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. 'The biggest factor pushing tech job cuts to a 5-quarter high was a surge in corporate combinations in the telecom sector, which resulted in over 3K job cuts in February.', John Challenger, the company's chief executive, told CNNFN. 'In fact, 92% of the first-quarter telecom job cuts resulted from mergers.', he added. Tech-sector job cuts could increase further in the coming months, according to Challenger, who noted a recent CIO magazine survey of corporate technology buyers that showed expected spending growth slowed to 6.7% from 7.3% in March a year ago."


2005-04-12 22:18:20PDT (2005-04-13 01:18:20EDT) (05:18:20GMT)
Norm Matloff _UC Davis_/_H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Media miss vital resource in H-1B reporting
"Whenever I see businesses quoted as saying that they need H-1Bs because they just can't find qualified U.S. citizens and permanent residents (green card holders), the first thing I do is check the Dept. of Labor's H-1B data-base, to see just how much these businesses are paying their H-1Bs...   AgreeYa, has a highly embarrassing record.   It has hired H-1B programmers for as little as $36K a year!   The median salary even for new graduates in this field is $50K, and of course experienced programmers can make well over $100K...   Intel has always claimed that its H-1Bs are mainly holders of Master's degrees and PhDs.   But if you look at the Dept. of Labor H-1B web page, you find that the median prevailing wage quoted by Intel for its H-1Bs is about $65K.   Contrast that to the fact that the national median salary for workers with a Master's in engineering is $82,333 and the median for a PhD is $105,500.   (See reference to 2002 NSPE data N2002 NSPE data.) This is either what I call Type I salary savings (paying H-1Bs less than comparable Americans) or Type II (hiring younger and thus cheaper H-1Bs in order to avoid hiring older/more expensive Americans), maybe both."

2005-04-12 18:51PDT (21:51EDT) (2005-04-13 01:51GMT)
Kevin Maney _USA Today_
Moore's law began as a guess that grew in power over time
"Moore's Law, 40 years old this month...   The world leanred of [Gordon] Moore's Law in a seemingly unremarkable article that Moore wrote for the 1965-04-19 issue of _Electronics_...   What's funny, too, is that it's not a law at all... which describes something that is resolutely true...   Or maybe Moore is like John O'Sullivan, the editor who in the 1840s first published the term 'Manifest Destiny' to describe the USA's ultimate goal of stretching from coast to coast.   It was just a few words in a story, but it took on a life of its own, becomeing a rallying cry and a presumed outcome."

2005-04-13 06:19PDT (09:19EDT) (13:19GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
IMF predicts global slow-down in economic growth
"With down-side risks proliferating, the global economy will moderate from the strong 5.1% growth rate seen last year, the International Monetary Fund said in a report released on Wednesday...   In addition, the global expansion has become less balanced, with strong growth in the U.S. and [Red China] standing in stark contrast to lackluster growth in Europe and Japan.   If this continued, it could widen the U.S. current-account deficit, which already ballooned to a record $665.9G in 2004...   The IMF predicted the global economy would grow 4.3% in 2005, down from the 5.1% growth rate seen in 2004, the strongest rate in 3 decades."

2005-04-13 07:18PDT (10:18EDT) (14:18GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US retail sales rose 0.3% in March, but excluding autos and gasoline sales fell
"Excluding the 0.7% gain in auto sales, retail sales advanced just 0.1%, the slowest gain in a year...   Excluding both autos and the 2.1% increase in gas sales, sales fell 0.1%, the first decline in a year...   Sales in February were revised slightly higher, showing a 0.5% gain instead of the 0.4% increase previously reported.   January sales were revised down by a tenth of a percentage point...   Gasoline now accounts for 9% of retail sales, the highest percentage since 1983, said Mat Johnson, chief economist for ThinkEquity Partners...   Gasoline prices have continued to rise in April, reaching record levels of more than $2.30 a gallon on average...   The government data reported Wednesday showed sales at general merchandise stores fell 0.7%, the biggest decline in a year.   Department store sales fell 2%.   Sales at clothing stores dropped 1.9%.   Sales of leisure-time goods, such as books and sporting goods, increased 0.8%.   Sales of durable goods were mixed.   While sales at building supply and gardening stores increased 1.5%, sales at furniture stores sank 0.6% and sales at electronics and appliance stores dropped 0.3%.   Sales at food stores were flat.   Sales at restaurants and bars fell 0.7%.   Sales at health and personal care stores increased 0.1%.   Sales at non-store retailers, such as catalog and on-line out-lets, increased 1.2%."
census bureau data

2005-04-13 10:10:54PDT (13:10:54EDT) (17:10:54GMT)
Norm Matloff _UC Davis_/_H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Wolf-Ehlers press conference, yesterday, re: incentives for study of math, science & engineering
"[I received the attached announcement of a press conference from the associate executive director] of the American Mathematical Society.   'Wolf and Ehlers will announce the introduction of legislation to forgive interest on under-graduate student loans for math, science and engineering majors who agree to work 5 years in their field upon graduation.'   Who 'agree' to work in their field?!   Most can't FIND work in their field.   This is just bizarre.   Ehlers, the former physics professor turned congress-person, is of course well aware of the fact that most physics graduates haven't been able to find jobs in physics in the last 20 years, if not longer...   Back when Ehlers first ran for office, some critics of the H-1B program were expressing hope that Ehlers, as a physics professor, would defend U.S. citizen and permanent resident (i.e. green card holder) engineers and scientists, whose job opportunities are greatly reduced by foreign cheap labor under the H-1B work visa program...   Merten is a university president, so he has the ultimate in vested interests.   He has consistently supported the industry's side on the H-1B issue, and has worked closely with the ITAA industry lobbying group.   He sits on the board of several high-tech firms, one of which hired an H-1B engineer at a salary of only $30K."


2005-04-14 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
unemployment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 337,960 in the week ending April 9, an increase of 43,275 from the previous week.   There were 350,739 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2% during the week ending April 2, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,818,036, a decrease of 141,460 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 2.5% and the volume was 3,112,845."

Ross Murdoch _American Society of News-Paper Editors
We should encourage dialogue
"Some news-papers will invest sufficient resources to continuously update the news, because digital natives don't just check the news in the morning -- they check it throughout the day.   If my child played a little league baseball game in the morning, it would be great to be able to access the paper's web-site in the afternoon to get a summary of her game, maybe even accompanied by video highlights.   But our internet site will have to do still more to be competitive.   For some, it may have to become the place for conversation.   The digital native doesn't send a letter to the editor anymore.   She goes on-line, and starts a blog.   We need to be the destination for those bloggers.   We need to encourage readers to think of the web as the place to go to engage our reporters and editors in more extended discussions about the way a particular story was reported or researched or presented.   At the same time, we may want to experiment with the concept of using bloggers to supplement our daily coverage of news on the net...   some digital natives do even more than blog with text -- they are blogging with audio, specifically through the rise of podcasting -- and to remain fully competitive, some may want to consider providing a place for that as well.   [OTOH, if Murdoch respects Gates, he must not be a very bright guy.]   We're more trusted by the people who aren't reading us.   And when you ask journalists what they think about their readers, the picture grows darker.   According to one recent study, the percentage of national journalists who have a great deal of confidence in the ability of the American public to make good decisions has declined by more than 20 points since 1999."

Thomas E. Brewton _View from 1776_
Socialism and Inheritance Extortion

2005-04-14 13:41PST (16:41EDT) (20:41GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Dow posted triple-digit decline to 5-month low: GM fell to 12-year low
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted its second straight triple-digit decline Thursday to end at a 5-month low, and the Nasdaq put in its worst performance since 2004 October, on rising concern that the pace of U.S. economic growth may be slowing.   The Dow industrials fell 125.18 points, or 1.2% to 10,278.75, registering its first back-to-back triple-digit decline since August of last year.   The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped to a 6-month low, sliding 27.66 points, or 1.4% to 1,946.71 while the S&P 500 Index was down 11.74 points, or 1% to 1,162.05...   Within the Dow, General Motors shares tumbled 5.9% to a 12-year low of $26.66, pressured by regulatory questions, health-care costs, the potential for a cut in its annual dividend and JP Morgan's decision to cut its earnings estimates for the company."


2005-04-15 08:23PDT (11:23EDT) (15:23GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
UMich consumer sentiment index fell from 92.6 in March to 88.7 in mid-April
"The index has fallen four months in a row to the lowest reading in 18 months... The current conditions index slipped to 103.9 from 108.0, the lowest since September."

2005-04-15 13:28PDT (16:28EDT) (20:28GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Dow plunged 420 points in 3 days
"U.S. stocks ended at their lows for the year Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling more than 400 points in 3 days, in a week dominated by concern over a slow-down in the economy.   The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 191.24 points, or 1.9% to 10,087.51, posting its biggest 1-day decline since March 2003...   The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 38.56 points to 1,908.15, marking a 6-month low while the S&P 500 Index fell 19.43 points, or 1.7% to 1,142.62.   On the week, the Dow fell 3.6%, the Nasdaq gave up 4.6% while the S&P 500 was down 3.3%...   New York Federal Reserve Bank's Empire State Manufacturing index fell to 3.1 in April from a revised 20.2 in March...   the Labor Department said import prices climbed 1.8% in March due in large part to the spike in crude-oil prices.   This marked the fastest monthly increase in more than 2 years and was ahead of analyst expectations calling for a 1.3% rise."


  "Always remember that an armed & trained militia is the firmest bulwark of republics -- that without standing armies their liberty can never be in danger, nor with large ones safe." --- James Madison 1809-03-04  

_IT Facts_
Dice job postings up 22% in 2005 Q1


Joe McDonald _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Red Chinese dictatorship rejects Japan's demand for apology
"Red China on Sunday rebuffed Tokyo's demands for an apology after sometimes violent [government instigated] anti-Japanese demonstrations, while new protests took place in several cities over perceived efforts by Japan to gloss over its wartime history and to gain a permanent UN Security Council seat.   Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing instead pointed a finger at Tokyo for the heightened tensions, which have been fueled by anger over Japan's wartime aggression and anxieties about Tokyo's military and diplomatic ambitions...   Relations between the Asian powerhouses also have soured amid disagreements over Taiwan, Japan's bid to join [Red China] as a permanent member of the powerful Security Council and gas resources in disputed seas."

Karl Schoenberger _San Jose Mercury News_
Move to issue more H-1B visas hits snag
"Sandra Boyd, chair of Compete America, the lobbying group that pushed hardest for the legislation's passage and has Intel, Oracle and Sun Microsystems on its steering committee...   The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services [USCIS], the agency that administers the H-1B program, has not issued a clarification of its March 8 bomb-shell.   Chris Bentley, spokesman for the agency, said officials at CIS, the Department of Homeland Security and the White House Office of Management and Budget were meeting to review implementation of the law...   It seemed likely the requirements for advanced U.S. degrees will be reimposed, at least temporarily, after representative Lamar Smith, R-TX -- a key sponsor of the original legislation -- held talks to sort things out with Michael Chertoff, secretary of Homeland Security...   Behind the snafu, critics of the agency say, is an administrative error that led to issuing 10K too many H-1B visas for fiscal 2005, busting the legal cap of 65K.   CIS may have tried to conceal its mistake by using the new batch of 20K elite visas to absorb the ordinary applicants, critics charge.   CIS allegedly justified this sleight of hand after calculating that at least 20K of the applicants already admitted under the 65K visa quota were believed to hold U.S. master's degrees.   Bentley acknowledged the extra 10K H-1B visas were a problem...   'The USCIS has a fundamentally flawed control system.', said Ron Hira, assistant professor of public policy at Rochester Institute of Technology and co-author of the book _Out-Sourcing America_.   'They shouldn't rely on guess-work when they comply with the law that caps the number of H-1B visas, or try to cover their tracks like this when they make mistakes.   The cap is the only thing that really protects the interests of American workers.'...   'It discourages me to hear that Congress's limit may have been ignored.', Grassley wrote.   'I expect a full explanation as to how the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service approved more than the number of visas allowed, and what plan is in place to make sure this doesn't happen again.'   Grassley's staff said they haven't received a reply...   Lack of availability of H-1B visas has led the so-called bodyshops to turn to the L-1 visa, which allows an employee transferred within a multi-national company to work in the United States [but are not supposed to be used for contracting]."


2005-04-18 14:00PDT (17:00EDT) (21:00GMT)
Susan Lerner _MarketWatch_
Stocks mixed
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day down 16.26 points, or 0.2%, at 10,071.25, bouncing off an intraday low of 10,020, but still closing lower for the 4th consecutive session.   The Nasdaq Composite Index however, snapped a 3-day skid, closing up 4.77 points, or 0.3%, at 1,912.92.   The S&P 500 added 3.36 points, or 0.3%, at 1,145.98.   Advancers led decliners by 19 to 13 on the New York Stock Exchange but were just about even on the Nasdaq.   Big Board volume topped 1.74G shares and nearly 1.86G shares traded on the Nasdaq."

Matt Hines _TechRepublic_
Adobe to buy Macromedia for $3.4G

Stuart Anderson _National Foundation for Anti-USA Policy_/_US News Wire_
Legislative measures to defend against off-shore out-sourcing continue: Numbers of bills increase from 2004 to 2005
"State legislators have introduced at least 112 bills in 40 states to restrict out-sourcing as of 2005-03-17 compared to 107 bills in 33 states at the same date in 2004...   New Jersey, Maryland, Oklahoma, Montana and Washington have bills closest to becoming law.   S494 in New Jersey, which awaits the Governor's decision to sign or veto, would be the most far-reaching anti-out-sourcing measure in the country by prohibiting all state contract work from being performed over-seas."

_Employers Jobs_
"Beautiful people" get the jobs while unattractive workers don't get a look
"The survey, conducted by the Employment Law Alliance, the world's largest network of employment lawyers...   33% of American workers believe that those who are more physically attractive are more likely to get promoted, and 16% say they have suffered this kind of discrimination because of the way they look.   Opinions about appearance discrimination seem divided: 39% of the Americans surveyed said they thought that employers should be allowed to discriminate on the basis of appearance, whilst another 33% thought that those who do not conform to the conventional standards of appearance should be protected by laws similar to those protecting disabled people's rights...   'a report by the University of Helsinki showed that overweight women earned up to 30% less than their more slender colleagues.' [said Damian Kelly, employment partner at Eversheds."

Paul Craig Roberts _V Dare_
Out-Sourcing: A Greater Threat Than Terrorism?
Washington Times
Guerrilla News Network
"Only a small handful of people have looked objectively at the issue...   Now comes an important new book, _OutSourcing America_, published by the American Management Association.   The authors, 2 brothers, Ron and Anil Hira, are experts on the subject.   One is a professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and the other is professor at Simon Fraser University...   The authors note that [the jobs being off-shored] are the jobs of the American Dream, the jobs of upward mobility that generate the bulk of the tax revenues that fund our education, health, infrastructure, and social security systems.   Corporate America's short-term mentality, stemming from bonuses tied to quarterly results, is causing US companies to lose not only their best employees -- their human capital -- but also the consumers who buy their products...   'The Department of Labor reports that more than 1 in 3 workers who are displaced remains unemployed, and many of those who are lucky enough to find jobs take major pay cuts.   Many former manufacturing workers who were displaced a decade ago because of manufacturing that went off-shore took training courses and found jobs in the information technology sector.   They are now facing the unenviable situation of having their second career disappear over-seas.'...   Prior to the advent of off-shore out-sourcing, US employees were shielded against low wage foreign labor.   Americans worked with more capital and better technology, and their higher productivity protected their higher wages...   The result is a lose-lose situation for American employees, American businesses, and the American government.   Out-sourcing has brought about record unemployment in engineering fields and a major drop in university enrollments in technical and scientific disciplines.   Even many of the remaining jobs are being filled by lower paid foreigners brought in on H-1b and L-1 visas.   American employees are discharged after being forced to train their foreign replacements...   'There is no evidence that they will be able to out-compete local Chinese and Indian companies, who are very rapidly assimilating the technology and know-how from the local US plants.   In fact, studies show that Indian IT companies have been consistently out-competing their US counterparts, even in US markets.   Thus, it is time for CEOs to start thinking about whether they are fine with their own jobs being out-sourced as well.'...   the national security implications of [off-shoring] 'have been largely ignored'...   In effect, the USA is giving away its technology, which is rapidly being captured, while US firms reduce themselves to a brand name with a sales force."


David Einstein _San Francisco Chronicle_
Tech support not what it used to be: Dell users frustrated by time, language problems with off-shore help
"This time, however, the call went to India, where the support person appeared to know next to nothing about computers.   He put me on hold after virtually every sentence of our conversation so he could question his supervisor.   He also didn't fix the problem.   I phoned back 3 more times and each time got someone whose knowledge of PCs (and command of American English) was even weaker...   The M$ tech person (also from India) left 3 voice mails on my work phone -- all on a Sunday.   His final message was that since he had tried 3 times to reach me and did not, he was closing the file.   Is there a computer manufacturer who still uses American tech support personnel?...   The labor is cheaper there..."

2005-04-19 06:37PDT (09:37EDT) (13:37GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
US housing starts delined 17.6% in March
"Housing starts fell to a seasonally adjusted 1.837M annualized units...   February's new construction was revised higher to 2.229M from the 2.195M level reported last month.   This was the highest rate of housing starts in 21 years."
census bureau data

Michael Bernstein _American Chemical Society_
Starting salaries remain depressed for 2004 chemistry graduates
"When adjusted for inflation, median salaries for 2004 bachelor's, master's and Ph.D. chemistry graduates were about 10% below the salaries received by chemists who graduated 3 or 4 years earlier, reports Chemical & Engineering News in its April 18 issue...   The survey shows a median salary for inexperienced bachelor's graduates with full-time permanent jobs at $32,500, compared to $32K for 2002-2003 graduates.   Ph.D. graduates' salaries rose from $63,300 to $65K over the same period, while salaries dipped slightly from $44,500 to $43,600 for M.A. graduates.   Overall, starting salaries and employment for new chemistry graduates survey 'did not get any worse than the previous survey', according to the report, which noted there were even some modest gains.   A total of 38% of 2003-2004 Ph.D. graduates found full-time employment, compared to 37% in the previous 12 months.   The gain for bachelors' graduates also was small, up from 24% to 25%. Master's class employment rose from 41% to 48% over this period."
Class of 2004 Starting Salaries: Inflation adjusted pay for new chemists remains depressed

2005-04-19 12:19PDT (15:19EDT) (19:19GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
March PPI rose 0.7% on petroleum prices, core up 0.1%
"PPI is now up 4.9% in the past 12 months.   The core rate has risen 2.6% year-over-year, down from the 13-year high of 2.8% recorded in February."
BLS data

2005-04-19 13:25PDT (16:25EDT) (20:25GMT)
Susan Lerner _MarketWatch_
Stocks gain
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 56.16 points, or 0.6%, at 10,127.41 -- snapping a 4-day skid.   The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 19.44 points, or 1%, to 1,932.36 and the S&P 500 added 6.80 points, or 0.6%, to 1,152.78.   Advancers led decliners by more than 3 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange and more than 2 to 1 on the Nasdaq.   Big Board volume was just under 1.7G shares, while more than 1.8G shares traded on the Nasdaq."

_UPI_/_Washington Times_
Broccoli & red chili pepper help fight cancer
Food Navigator
"Eating broccoli helps fight ovarian cancer and red chili peppers battle pancreatic cancer, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine studies conclude...   The capsaicin in red chili peppers interferes with cancerous cells but 'produces no significant damage to normal pancreatic cells', Srivastava said.   In the second study, phenethyl isothiocyanate found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables inhibited a protein that ovarian cancer cells need to grow."

Mary Lou Roberts _iSeries Network_
More H-1B Workers Are Coming In More R&D Is Going Off-Shore
"a new trend to 'out-source innovation'...   'the employer does not need to demonstrate that there is a shortage of qualified U.S. workers and, consequently, a labor-certification process can be avoided.   Aside from documenting that the position offered is in a specialty occupation ... the employer need only verify that the H-1B visa worker is being paid the prevailing wage for the work being performed and that employment of a foreign worker is not harming conditions for U.S. workers.'...   'When Western corporations began selling their factories and farming out manufacturing in the 1980s and 1990s to boost efficiency and focus their energies, most insisted all the important research and development would remain in-house.', _Business Week_ says.   'But that pledge is now passé.'...   [Marcus] Courtney [of WashTech] believes that out-sourced innovation is 'a serious threat to American competitiveness.   Some used to argue that out-sourcing was just about low-level jobs and that America would always be the technology innovators.   This trend shows it's not just about low-level jobs.'...   Viall is concerned about America's continuing ability to develop leaders.   'How can you develop leaders when you cut off the main channel to identify and develop your talent?', he asks...   'If you out-source all the components, where is your competitive advantage?'... "


2005-04-20 12:14PDT (15:14EDT) (19:14GMT)
Rex Nutting & Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
U.S. March CPI increased 0.6%: Core rate rose 0.4%, the biggest increase since 2002 August
BLS data

2005-04-20 13:47PDT (16:47EDT) (20:47GMT)
Larry Copeland _USA Today_
Traffic lights are inefficient
"Two-thirds of 378 traffic agencies in 49 states don't actively monitor traffic lights, or they simply respond to problems as they occur, the Washington-based Institute of Transportation Engineers reported...   'The traffic changes during the day.   [Agencies] need to be able to time the signals differently at different points during the day...   35% of the nation's traffic agencies had not retimed their traffic signals in 10 years...   Ideal management of traffic lights would cut delays by 15%-20%, reduce travel time by up to 25%, cut emissions by up to 22% and reduce gasoline consumption by up to 10%...   [Making the suggested improvements] would cost about $965M [per] year.   [Their conclusion: We must have more privacy violation!!!]"

2005-04-20 14:30PDT (17:30EDT) (20:30GMT)
Norm Matloff _UC Davis_/_H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
competition for foreign students becomes keener
"the foreign students are disproportionately enrolled in the academically weaker universities.   (See David S. North, _Soothing the Establishment: The Impact of Foreign-Born Scientists and Engineers on America_, University Press of America, 1995, p.48...   The fact is that foreign students provide cheap, compliant labor, both when they are in graduate school and when they join the work-force.   As put so candidly by Stephen Seideman, Dean of the College of Computing Science at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the foreign students 'will do everything they can to stay here'...   National Science Foundation explicitly advocated bringing in [more] foreign students as a source of cheap labor for both universities and industry...   Yet, students in other nations are much less interested in coming to the U.S. today than in the past.   Thus they are looking for ways to attract/retain the foreign students.   There is considerable evidence their goal is to make it easier for foreign students to get H-1Bs or even green cards after graduation.   A powerful congressional lobbying group, the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers (NAFSA), has started a big PR campaign to make the public aware of the 'need' to have a lot of foreign students...   Here a public university has actually retained a law firm to help its foreign students obtain H-1Bs etc...   'Total cost to a recruiter is typically no more than $3,200.'"


2005-04-21 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
unemployment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 283,128 in the week ending April 16, a decrease of 56,608 from the previous week.   There were 334,965 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2% during the week ending April 9, unchanged from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,737,945, a decrease of 71,501 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 2.5% and the volume was 3,143,186."


John Blau _InfoWorld_
RFID privacy violation scheme hooked a ride on German mass transit: e-ticketing combines idiot kkkards with RFID
"T-Systems International, the IT services and infrastructure arm of German telco Deutsche Telekom, has developed an e-ticketing system in collaboration with the German Mass Transit Authority (VDV), which represents hundreds of regional bus and train companies in the country, said Frankfurt-based T-Systems in a statement on Thursday.   The system consists of several components: the so-called 'VDV core application', a semiconductor-based [idiot kkkard] equipped with a miniature antenna, RFID technology for retrieving data from the [kkkards] over the air-waves, and sensor-based [kkkard] readers.   The technology [reads the kkkards at a distance].   Customer data, such as identification number and pricing [so that individuals can be easily tracked] are contained on a chip embedded in the [idiot kkkard]...   RFID is [abused] in the process because the radio technology doesn't require the embedded chips to be powered in order to retrieve information, according to Hold.   Also, the [kkkards] can be read remotely.   'With our system, passengers don't have to remove the [kkkards] from their wallets.', he said...   The e-ticketing venture is one of many RFID projects in Germany, which is at the forefront of smart-tag development in Europe...   attending the FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) World Cup soccer tournament in Germany next year must accept RFID chips on their tickets in order to enter the stadiums.   And earlier this week, Siemens Business Services, OHG, Fujitsu Siemens Computers and Intel joined the German hospital Klinikum Saarbrücken in southern Germany in a pilot project that will test the use of RFID chips embedded in wrist-bands containing the patient's number."

2005-04-22 11:38PDT (14:38EDT) (18:38GMT)
Herb Greenberg _MarketWatch_
Protestations of innocence fan suspicions
"One rule of thumb on Wall Street is that the more a company goes after critics, including short-sellers and the press, the more likely that something isn't quite right -- and that its stock is likely to implode."

Jeff M. Sellers _Christianity Today_
Deliver Us from WM: Christians are among those sounding the alarm about the poor ethics of this retail giant
"She ticks off the complaints: low pay, scant benefits, race and sex discrimination, and profiting from mistreated workers in foreign 'sweat-shops'.   Before the Chicago City Council votes to block one store but allow another, aldermen label WM 'the worst company in America' and an 'evil-doer'...   WM's average hourly wage produces an annual income of $20,134.40, which is slightly more than the federal poverty level for a family of four ($19,350).   Given that many 'full-time' WM employees work 34-hour weeks, though, the resulting average annual income of $17,114.24 falls well short of that standard for a family of 4...   Economist Thomas Sowell has shown that wages artificially elevated by government or unions lead to unemployment...   WM policies forbid such 'off-the-clock' practices.   But David Batstone notes in _Saving the Corporate Soul & (Who Knows?) Maybe Your Own_ (Jossey-Bass, 2003) that store managers come under such heavy pressure from Bentonville to avoid paying over-time that they see no option but to demand off-the-clock labor.   'A senior WM pay-roll executive revealed under court deposition that every store has to send corporate head-quarters a daily report noting whether the store had exceeded its pay-roll limit.', Batstone writes.   'Store managers who fail to minimize over-time pay can be reprimanded or fired.'...   Most recently, the National Labor Committee (NLC) reported in 2004 February that workers making plastic toys for WM in Chang Ping township in Guangdong province, [Red China], were paid less than the legal minimum and worked longer hours than local labor laws allowed.   Employees worked for up to 20 hours a day, sometimes 7 days a week, for an average of 16.5 cents per hour; the legal minimum is 31 cents an hour...   The NLC reported that Chinese factory managers trained and paid workers to 'correctly' answer questions they knew WM inspectors would ask—and that inspectors played along, fully aware that the employees were lying about conditions...   Improving conditions in Chinese factories is especially urgent as the United States began phasing out quotas for Chinese textile imports in January, Kernaghan says.   That is expected to lead to a dramatic increase in multi-national companies relying on goods produced in [Red China], where labor laws are essentially meaningless...   The Walton heirs occupying places 4 through 8 on Forbes's list of richest people did not attain their fortunes from drawing salaries at WM."

Joy Davia _Rochester Democraty & Chronicle_
high-tech jobs steadier
"Rochester's high-tech job market appears to have stabilized after years of job cuts.   Eastman Kodak Co., a big employer of high-tech workers, will continue to downsize.   But the sector overall appears to have maintained its work force or slightly added jobs, according to data released Thursday by the state Department of Labor.   Overall, the Rochester area's jobless rate dropped to 5.3% in March vs. 5.7% in February...   Nationally, high-tech companies -- telecommunications, computer, electronics and e-commerce firms -- shed jobs in the first quarter at a quicker rate than they did during the same time last year, according to a survey by the global out-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas..."

Robert J. Caldwell et al. _San Diego Union-Tribune_
discussion of illegal immigration

2005-04-22 13:31PDT (16:31EDT) (20:31GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Roller coaster week for stocks
"failed to erase concerns about a slowing economy and rising inflation.   The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 60.89 points, or 0.6%, at 10,157.71, staging a partial recovery from a late-session low of 10,069.92.   The benchmark index gained 0.7% in a week where the index fell to a 6-month low but also posted its biggest one-day gain in more than 2 years.   The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 30.22 points, or 1.5%, to 1,932.19, putting in a 1.3% gain on the week.   The S&P 500 dropped 7.83 points, or 0.7%, to 1,152.12.   The broad gauge rose 0.8% on the week...   On the broader market, decliners outpaced advancers by a 19-to-12 score on the New York Stock Exchange, and by more than 2 to 1 on the Nasdaq.   Volume was 1.6G on the Big Board and 1.8G on the Nasdaq."


Julia Kollewe _The Independent_
Disillusionment puts off-shore out-sourcing into reverse
"Many large companies that out-sourced information technology and other services are bringing operations back in-house after failing to achieve desired cost savings, says a new global study by Deloitte...   the tide is turning, with almost three-quarters of companies questioned experiencing significant problems with out-sourcing projects, and 44% not seeing any cost savings materialising.   A quarter of companies have brought functions back in-house after realising that they could be managed better and more cheaply internally...   The study questioned executives from 25 of the world's biggest companies with more than $50bn (£27bn) of services out-sourced, including a number of UK and European companies.   Other recent research from KPMG and the Confederation of British Industry showed that almost one-third of businesses in London are relocating support operations outside Britain, with financial and back-office positions the most popular to relocate.   Many banks and insurers, led by HSBC and Aviva, have offshored thousands of call-centre jobs...   RBS highlighted the fact that it was not off-shoring any jobs at its annual meeting on Wednesday, and its definite policy not to do so also featured in TV advertising for its NatWest subsidiary last year."

Harish Baliga _India Daily_
India's out-sourcing is in a downward spiral Wipro confesses
"Though Wipro share process went up yesterday almost 8%, there was a silent but very significant confession by the company that signifies the start of a major downward spiral in India's highly publicized out-sourcing industry, especially the IT cheap labor sector...   flat to low technology budgets in leading markets for off-shore services had forced it to mine existing customers more aggressively in the year to March, when it lifted net income to Rs15.83G ($362M), up 58% year on year.   Sources close to the IT outsourcing markets say the downward spiral IT bodyshopping has started.   The American and European companies have finally [realized] the waste of money they incur when the inefficient departments and managers out-source IT services which end up in further inefficiencies anyway...   The Indian IT companies understand that their days of taking advantage of low cost cheap labor from Indian youth is over.   They are now pressured on one side deflation from Western countries when it comes to revenues.   They also face inflation in terms of higher wage demand by India's vibrant intelligent young generations waking up against exploitation by Indian Software oligarchs."

Leo Shane III _Stars & Stripes_
Unemployment figures among young veterans are troubling
"One in 5 young male veterans were unemployed in the first 3 months of 2005, nearly double the rate among comparable civilians, according to federal labor statistics...   According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate among 20- to 24-year-old male veterans for the first quarter of 2005 was 20.4%.   About 86K servicemembers in that age group received military separations in 2004.   Among civilian men of the same age, the unemployment rate was 11%.   In 2004, the gap between those groups was much smaller.   Civilian men in that bracket saw a 9.4% unemployment rate, while the young veterans posted a 13.6% rate.   The unemployment rate for all veterans 20 and over last year was 4.6%, lower than the 5% rate for the general population.   Nicholson said he is working with major trade associations to develop new vocational programs, and so far has received positive responses from the business community.   He has also encouraged federal agencies to place extra emphasis on young veterans when hiring [implying that unemployed civilians will be facing even worse competition when vying for the scarce new jobs being created]."

Frosty Wooldridge & Gene Nelson, PhD _News with Views_
H-1B Visas are a Scam on American Workers
"[over the last decade] 890K high tech American citizens were forced to train foreign workers and then were fired via the H-1B visa program.   In 2000, not satisfied with 115K visas per year, Congress increased the annual quota to more than 195K visas.   That visa is why you hear a foreign voice with broken English when you call for high tech help.   It's your clue that another American citizen is out of work...   Millions of college-trained American citizens have suffered unemployment...   immigrants from nations such as India, [Red China], and Russia are displacing American citizens while eroding American wage scales.   Simultaneously, the economic elite, who capture most of the value added by these professionals, are experiencing unprecedented increases in their personal wealth...   Hundreds of thousands of American citizen recent college graduates are unable to find work.   Instead, they are being forced to take low-skill positions that make scant use of their training...   The grim reality is that millions of jobs have been cut since 2000.   Those visa holders are 'officially' working only 8 hours per day.   Thus, having millions of these people working as indentured servants in exchange for potential employer 'green card' sponsorship results in tens of millions of hours per year of uncompensated over-time -- an employer wind-fall worth billions.   Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman described the H-1B visa program as another government subsidy (to employers) in 2002...   Highly skilled and experienced professionals with PhDs and 2 decades of 'high tech' employment are told by employers they are 'over-qualified'.   This thinly-disguised illegal employment discrimination on the basis of age and national origin has meant that many Americans have been seeking full-time employment since 2001.   (One employer, Genuity, Inc. retained its special visa holders while axing the jobs of hundreds of American citizens.)...   these special visa programs, which are a form of corporate welfare, often as a quid pro quo for generous campaign contributions...   The H visa was created in 1952 to give 'special handling' to western range-land owners who wanted inexpensive imported sheepherders.   The term 'special handling' means that employers don't have to attest that they are usurping American citizen's access to jobs.   In 1976, in response to still undisclosed considerations, the Association of American Universities (AAU) successfully lobbied U.S. Representative Joshua Eilberg for the passage of the 'Eilberg Amendment' which granted universities special handling for college professors and researchers.   AAU members imported unprecedented numbers of these skilled professionals at bargain-basement prices, since the employer could sponsor the special visa holder for permanent residency after 6 years of quasi-slave labor.   These colleges cut off the chance for bright, dedicated American citizens to pursue a career in research or teaching.   Instead, some worked in those fields for a total of 6 years, but were discarded by employers like yesterday's newspaper...   The goal of most employers is clear.   Drive down U.S. wages with labor gluts that result from removing all protections against displacement by desperate Third World wage earners."


Michael Kinsman _San Diego Union-Tribune_
Training is priceless, and firms are finally beginning to invest in a small way
"A survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting says 49% of companies expect to increase their training budgets this year, while just 2% plan to spend less...   Elkeles believes the way Qualcomm ties its training programs to corporate goals is one of the reasons top management spends [only] up to 1.5% of revenue on training its staff of 8K workers...   The good news is that training is rebounding.   As work-places change and embrace new markets, technologies and products, the job demands will change."

Doug _San Diego Union-Tribune_
Racketeers rely on illegal alien labor
"you say our economy relies on illegal immigrant labor.   Our economy doesn't rely on it; corporate racketeering does.   Illegal immigration distorts the fair market price of labor.   No fair market, no lawful, legitimate economy.   As Patrick says, it's time for our government to get tough with Mexico (as it did with South Africa) and demand that Mexico clean up its act.   And it's time newspaper editors wised up and told their readers the truth about immigration..."


2005-04-25 08:20PDT (11:20EDT) (15:20GMT)
Rex Nutting & Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
US March existing-home sales rose 1%: Prices showed biggest increase in 25 years
full report

Edwin S. Rubenstein _V Dare_
Immigrant Doctors Are Not Necessary Either
"Move over computer programmers.   Medical doctors are also alleged to be in 'short supply' these days...   Foreign-born physicians now make up approximately 23% of the total US physician count, up from 17% in 1970.   Most foreign doctors come here on the J-1 program...a guest-worker visa...   Data suggests that a resident is worth $70K a year to a teaching hospital.   There are 24K such positions under-written by Medicare -- roughtly 9K more than the number of MD degrees awarded annually by US medical schools...   We do little to help finance medical education in this country.   By contrast, many foreign doctors are educated here, or in their home country, at heavily subsidized tuitions.   And American medical schools are expensive... approximately $140K for public schools and $225K for private schools.   Although consumer prices are less than twice what they were 20 eyars ago, debt carried by the average medical graduate is 4.8 times [what it was then]...   Men are avoiding medical school, as they are avoiding science and engineering generally, largely because the once-lofty economic returns simply aren't there any more."

Linda Kilcrease _Business Week_
Transparency in the Protection Rackets Is Long Over-Due
V Dare
"So American International Group (AIG) CEO Maurice R. Greenberg abruptly resigned amid an accounting scandal unearthed by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer ('AIG: What went wrong' News: Analysis & Commentary, April 11).   I've prayed for this day.   I worked at AIG for years.   Greenberg led the meanest management team anywhere.   AIG set the standard in 1994 by permanently laying off its U.S. technology workers after forcing them to train their foreign replacements.   AIG was the company cited by then-Labor Secretary Robert Reich in testimony to Congress on abuse of the H-1B visa by greedy companies.   AIG boasted that it saved money as the lives of those who built its computer systems were ruined.   AIG's profits were soaring, yet it squeezed the last drop of blood out of its loyal, competent employees.   Spitzer is a true hero."


2005-04-25 18:12PDT (21:12EDT) (2005-04-26 01:12GMT)
Andrea Coombes _MarketWatch_
age bias in hiring thrives
"Before he turned to hair dye, the first words L heard in a recent job interview with a telecom company manager were 'the average age around here is 28', recounted L, a 57-year-old with 30 years' experience as a finance executive, in Chico, CA...   L estimates he's faced some form of age bias in more than half of his job interviews, and it seems likely he's not alone...   Paul Boymel, an attorney in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's office of legal counsel.   'Every study has shown that, at least where heavy manual labor is not involved, older workers outperform younger workers as a class, with far less absenteeism, far less hopping from job to job, better work ethic.', he said.   But 'not everybody's gotten that message'.   Difficult problem to measure.   About 10% of the some 17,800 age-discrimination claims filed last year with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission were related to hiring...   'It's probably one of the lowest number of charges filed with the EEOC, not because it's not prevalent but because they don't have the proof.', said Laurie McCann, a senior attorney with AARP.   'They might have a gut feeling that they didn't get hired because of their age, but they're on the outside looking in and they don't know in most cases who got hired instead of them, what that person's age is and how their qualifications compare to that person's.', she said...   69% of executives said they'd been victims of age discrimination, according to a recent survey of members of TheLadders.com...   At a recent conference, Ward asked a question of some personnel managers: If you posted a job requiring three to five years' experience, would you deny the job to a candidate with 10 years' experience solely because of those extra years?   The consensus was yes, she said...   In her management course, K's daughter was told to insist on high school graduation dates on application forms.   'This is our vehicle for making sure that you don't inadvertently hire older employees.', K's daughter was told by her company...   He [L] said his first job interview since dyeing his beard went well."

2005-04-26 08:27PDT (11:27EDT) (15:27GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
New-home sales increased 12% to estimated 1.43M annual rate
census bureau data

Ed Frauenheim _CNET_/_MarketWatch_
Insecurities over out-sourcing to India
"A case of bank fraud involving an India-based out-sourcer has rekindled debate over using over-seas contractors for tasks involving sensitive data...   some observers have voiced concerns about the security of data being handled by [off-shore out-sourcers], including worries about weak procedures for checking employee backgrounds [not to mention checking executive backgrounds]...   According to the Merrill Lynch report, security fears are the main reason CIOs aren't moving IT work off-shore faster: The 'key inhibitor preventing companies (from using) off-shore out-sourcing remains data security', the report says...   In one of the latest examples, LexisNexis revealed that an intrusion into its Seisint data-bases may have compromised personal information on about 310K Americans, a ten-fold increase on a previous estimate."

Miriam Jordan _Wall Street Journal_
Illegal Aliens Join Citizens' Lament: Have Degree but No Job
"[Claiming that there is] a severe shortage of nurses, U.S. hospitals have recruited thousands of workers from countries such as the Philippines, Jamaica and Mexico.   Meanwhile, JG's nursing degree from a prestigious Texas university isn't helping her land a job with any hospital.   The most she can do is volunteer...   'We have this irony -- yong adults who are trained and ready to join the work force but are unable to do so...', says Josh Bernstein, director of federal policy at the National Immigration Law Center in Washington, DC."

2005-04-26 09:38PDT (12:38EDT) (16:38GMT)
Ashlee Vance _Register_
India and Red China poised to feast on US IT complacency
"according to Sun Microsystems President Jonathan Schwartz.   'My view is that (India and [Red China]) don't have to deal with all the legacy systems that Western Europe, the US and Japan do.', Schwartz said...   'There are no mainframes.   M$ Exchange doesn't have the same presence in the IT landscape.   Windows isn't nearly no entrenched.'...   While the US is busy paying cheap coders to fix PeopleSoft applications, savvy folks in India could be plowing ahead on a fresh infrastructure...   Sun [notorious for McNealy's 1999 declaration along with Oracle's Ellison that people had better give up on security and privacy] employs between 6K and 7K software developers in 28 countries.   It has just under 1K of these staffers in Bangalore and about 500 in Beijing...   'One moment, we are subject to a reduction in force (RIF) in order to cut costs, and before that exercise is even complete, Sun are saying that they need more people in [Red China].', a former Sun employee wrote...   'I am just as worried about the morale of my employees in Beijing or Bangalore as I am about the ones in Mountain View.   The luddite view is that they are just a great source of cheap labor...', [said Schwartz]...   An effective partnership Sun has already managed to form in [Red China] comes via its relationship with networking firm Huawei [the government/business notorious for having stolen technology from Cisco]."

2005-04-26 15:57PDT (18:57EDT) (22:57GMT)
Ed Frauenheim _CNET_
Will tech industry rehire its own?
"what will become of the hundreds of thousands of tech industry workers whose jobs were axed earlier this decade?...   The average number of unemployed workers in 9 high-tech categories -- including computer programmers, data-base administrators and computer hardware engineers -- fell by 64K last year but remained close to 150K, according to the U.S. Labor Department."

_Consumer Affairs_
Consumer Confidence Continued to Sink
"The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index, which had declined in March, lost more ground in April.   The Index now stands at 97.7 (1985=100), down from 103.0 in March.   The Present Situation Index declined to 113.6 from 117.0.   The Expectations Index declined to 87.2 from 93.7...   Consumers saying jobs are 'hard to get' declined to 23.3% from 23.8%, but those claiming jobs are 'plentiful' declined to 20.4% from 21.8%."


2005-04-27 13:16PDT (16:16EDT) (20:16GMT)
Robert Schroeder & Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US durable goods orders were down 2.8% in March: 3 straight months of decrease
"Orders for durables declined 2.8% in March, the largest drop since 2002 September, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday...   Orders for durable goods in February were revised to a drop of 0.2% from a 0.3% increase.   March thus marked the third decline in a row for durable-goods orders.   Orders are down 1.7% year-over-year. In addition, shipments fell 0.2% in March after dropping by 1.8% in February."
census bureau data

2005-04-27 14:33PDT (17:33EDT) (21:33GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
GDP growth slowed to 3.6% growth rate

Gates urges end to H-1B visa limits, claims slimey M$ is having trouble finding skilled workers in US willing to work under depressed conditions and compensation, but there's little evidence that M$ is trying very hard to seek American workers
ZD Net
eWeek: yet another ZD publication
Information Week
The Inquirer
Internet News
"M$ is having a hard time finding skilled workers within the U.S., and the lack of H-1B visas for skilled workers is only making the situation worse, Gates said in a panel discussion at the Library of Congress...   Undersecretary of Commerce Phil Bond, a top Bush administration technology official, pointed out that the unemployment rate for engineers is above the national average."

2005-04-27 10:47PDT (13:47EDT) (17:47GMT)
W.J. Golz _National Academy of Engineering_
Domestic & foreign damage caused by tax-victim subsidized unregulated immigration into US universities
"software cannot be out-sourced to [Red China] because the intellectual property laws have been so weak as to encourage piracy on a commercial scale...   [Red China's] nuclear program is derived entirely from secrets stolen from US Government labs by Chinese scientists working in America.   Nearly all of the industrial growth in [Red China] is from American, and to a lesser extent Western European, companies such as Airbus and Boeing whom have relocated part of their operations there to take advantage of inexpensive labor and lax, or nonexistent, environmental regulations.   India's chemical, textile, and software industries, which exist by virtue of the same economics, are also based upon technology pioneered primarily in the US...   a scholarly discussion of the causes and effects underlying the current glut of PhDs in the US scientific labor market...   allowing unregulated immigration through our universities also hurts India and [Red China] by causing a permanent loss of scientists and engineers in those countries (over 90% of foreign-born scientists and engineers who come to the US on temporary student visas refuse to honor their promise to return home and instead remain in the US after obtaining a graduate education at US tax-payer expense).   The damage to developing countries caused by the loss of scientists and engineers is in addition to the damage caused by the resulting glut of PhDs in the US, a glut which creates a strong disincentive for any bright native-born American who would otherwise attend graduate school.   Taking an even larger perspective, unregulated immigration into American universities results in a net loss of PhD scientists and engineers on a global scale, as elegantly illustrated by Dr. Eric Weinstein [of NBER in this pdf]."
Out-sourcing, Off-shoring of engineering jobs by William A. Wulf


2005-04-28 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
unemployment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 299,295 in the week ending April 23, an increase of 13,874 from the previous week.   There were 313,686 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004.   The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.1% during the week ending April 16, unchanged from the prior week.   The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,615,905, a decrease of 115,314 from the preceding week.   A year earlier, the rate was 2.4% and the volume was 3,037,412."

2005-04-28 14:00PDT (17:00EDT) (21:00GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Nasdaq dips to lowest level in over 6 months
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 128.43 points, or 1.3% to 10,070.37.   The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 26.25 points, or 1.4% at 1,904.18, its lowest close since 2004-10-14.   The S&P 500 Index dropped 13.16 points, or 1.1% to 1,143.22."

Lindsay Young _Biz New Orleans_
Slow growth for Louisiana info-tech sector
"Technoloby trade association AeA's annual report, _Cyberstates 2005: A State-by-State Overview of the High-Technology Industry_, ranked the state at 33rd, with 37,281 high-tech jobs in 2003.   That's a 3% decline in jobs from 2002 but a 4% increase since 1998.   In Louisiana, 25 of every 1K private-sector workers in the state were employed by high-tech firms in 2003...   The AeA report showed a loss of [another] 25K high-tech jobs nationwide to 5.6M in 2004.   But that decrease represents a considerable slow-down in technology jobs lost, according to AeA.   In 2003, 333K jobs were lost, and 612K were lost in 2002...   Louisiana's average annual wages for high-tech jobs decreased 2.6% from 2002 to 2003, and have been inching downward a total of 4% since 1998.   In 2003, the average was $47,257, about $20K below the national average and down 4% from 1998.   That puts the state near the bottom nationally at 43rd...   Nationwide, venture capital rose for the first time since 2000.   Investment totaled $11.8G in 2004, compared with $10.7G in 2003 [but many jobs resulting from such investments are being created over-seas, not in the USA]."

Roger Strukhoff _Linux World_
Gates's remarks about H-1B missed mark
"With unemployment among programmers at levels that probably exceed 50%, if you count all the 'independent contractors' and 'consultants' making almost nothing, as well as those who have simply given up and found work in construction or sales, the idea of allowing unlimited numbers of immigrant programmers who will presumably work for below-market wages is going to be controversial...   But one doesn't have to be a rocket scientist or M$ programmer to know that many very bad people are very smart and many very smart people are very bad. Aristotle knew this..."


2005-04-29 06:54PDT (09:54EDT) (13:54GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
UMich consumer sentiment fell from 88.7 earlier in month to 87.7

2005-04-29 13:49PDT (16:49EDT) (20:49GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Stocks rallied today: Market slid in April: Nasdaq down for 4th straight month
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 122.14 points, or 1.2% to 10,192.51.   The bench-mark index rose 0.3% on the week, but fell 3% in the month of April.   The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 17.47 points to 1,921.65, finishing its fourth straight month of declines.   The S&P 500 Index rose 11 points to 1,154...   The employment cost index, considered one of the best gauges of labor costs pressures, moderated in the first quarter to a 0.7% increase, down from a 0.8% gain in the last 3 months of 2004."

_UPI_/_Washington Times_
NASSCOM pushing massive privacy violation scheme to placate Americans over privacy violations
"The data-base will contain information such as people's employment, education, and credit history...   [NASSCOM] is creating a pilot version fo the data-base over the next two months.   Technology workers can voluntarily register.   India does not have 'data brokers' where they can get comprehensive background information on potential employees.   Not until 2004 did India even have a credit history bureau.   Indian companies [have relied] on former employers, records such as bank statements and credit-card bills, and reference-checking companies to screen job candidates."

Mike Tumolillo _Albuquerque Tribune_
New Mexico is losing high-tech jobs: VC investments have quadrupled
"New Mexico's high-tech jobs -- 1,300 gone between 2002 and 2003 -- hasn't upset local high-tech industry representatives.   That's because venture capital investments in the state rose to $28.1M in 2004, more than 4 times the $6.6M in 2003, according to the report by the American Electronics Association, a national trade association for the technology industry [executives]."

Lynn Welch _Madison Wisconsin Capital Times_
High tech helps area income grow
"Income in Madison rose faster than in any other are of the state, a testament to how the knowledge economy grows the area's economy.   Madison's per capita personal income rose 3.9% between 2002 & 2004 to $35,471, ranking it 30th among 360 metropolitan areas measured by the US BEA...   While Minneapolis income rose 3.2% to $38,601, Chicago income increased 1.8% to $35,464 and Milwaukee 2.5% to $35,133, ranking it 35th.   The numbers for Green Bay rose 3.4% to $30,697...   Madison has experienced growth in high-tech manufacturing..."

Joseph B. Nadeau _Woonsocket Call, Rhode Island_
Tech center to start culinary program

Craid Torres & Will Edwards _Bloomberg_
States Give US Companies Tax Breaks to Reduce Unemployment
"North Carolina gave the world's biggest personal-computer maker $247M in incentives over 15 years to locate in Forsyth County, including money to hire displaced workers... [Only a little more] than a third of 976 companies surveyed in March by the National Association of Manufacturers said they can't fill jobs because applicants lack math, science and technological aptitude [while hundreds of thousands or highly-educated and trained science and tech workers remain un-employed and under-employed]. From 2001 January to 2004 December, 5.3M people lost jobs they held at least 3 years because their company or plant shut or moved, a Bureau of Labor Statistics survey showed."

Elizabeth Olson _International Herald Tribune_/_NY Times_
In USA low-tech growing faster than high-tech
"Forget web sites and molecular imaging...   Think landscaping companies, child care providers, janitorial services and nail and hair salons...   Those are 4 of the biggest winners, by far."


Ann Imse _Rocky Mountain News_
Seasonal employers still crying shortage
"Colorado employers had 14K seasonal jobs last year they they tried to fill legally with foreign workers, [falsely claiming] Americans don't want to work as landscape laborers or hotel house-keepers...   The [H-2B] program allows employers to bring in temporary workers if they advertise the jobs to Americans [in a single publication] firat and pay the foreigners [what they claim is] the prevaling waige.   For Denver landscape laborers last year, that was $7.65 per hour.   Critics of the visa program say that if employers could not import foreign workers legally, they would have to increase wages sufficiently to persuade Americans to do the jobs.   Jim Hannifin of Ready Temporary Services in Denver says he regularly finds people willing to work a day here and there for $6 per hour and up.   Of the employers bringing in foreigners, he said, 'I think they're copping out.   I think if somebody made an effort, they could get 6K people to work in landscaping.   'It's not like the 1990s.', he said.   'There's a hell of a lot of people out of work.'...   the Labor Department approved 150K H-2B visa requests last year...   Then the Department of Homeland Security reduced the number by authorizing 100K visas, even though Congress [by statute] allows only 66K per year...   Most paid less than $10 per hour...   'Local people want full-time, permanent jobs.', she said.   Although 5.7% of the Colorado Springs work-force is unemployed, many are comptuer professionals...   'You can't take a high-tech worker earning $80K and say, ''Work for $8 an hour.''.', she said...   'If the H-2B cap is not lifted, employers... will have to adjust, making do with the labor that exists.', said [Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies].   'Employers would offer more money, better benefits, different working conditions to recruit and retrain the workers already here.'...   Todd Schmitz said, he has no difficulty hiring several landscape laborers each summer to work in the foot-hills community of Genesee because he offers $9 to $11 per hour...   McDonald's is paying $7 to $8 per hour...   His company, American Civil Contractors, has no problem filling the same jobs in California and Texas because they're year-round, due to the weather..."

Andrew J. Manuse _Milford Daily News_
No longer frequently called "Taxachusetts" but still a long way to go
"The Marlborough region, a 'high-tech-heavy area', needs to train the next generation of workers how to fill their parents' shoes, but it is falling short, they said...   Massachusetts lost 145,010 real jobs between 2001 and the end of the third quarter of 2004...   Greater Marlborough lost 3,100 jobs between 2002 and 2003, which was partially offset by a gain of 1,700 jobs.   The manufacturing sector, one of the 3 largest employment sectors in the region, lost 800 jobs during that period, which was offset by a gain in 100 jobs.   Manufacturing jobs tend to pay more, as well, and the loss of higher paying jobs is not made up for a small gain in leisure-sector jobs, such as waiters.   [This article shows a touch of the Washington Monument gambit, i.e. cutting funding to what people most want in order to persuade them to go along with huge extortion increases.]"

2005 April Deloitte Touche
Noting a Change in the Out-Sourcing Market
"While 30% of participants have encountered normal out-sourcing growing pains, 70% of participants have had significant negative experiences and are out-sourcing with increasing caution and in a conservative manner."

2005 April
_Programmers Guild_
H-1B abuses

2005 April
Katharine Bradbury _Federal Reserve Board_
Additional Slack in the Economy: The Poor Recovery in Labor Force Participation During this Business Cycle (pdf)

Andrew Bernstein
Conservation vs. the American Dream

External links may expire at any time.
Neither this page, nor the opinions expressed or implied in it are endorsed by Michael Badnarik, Ron Paul, Bob Barr, Wayne Allyn Root, Warner Brothers, Gary Johnson, president Donald Trump, nor by my hosts, Kermit and Rateliff.

jgo Resume Reading Room
jgo Econ Data & Graphs jgo Econ News Bits
Economic News Analysis Summary
Kermit's home page jgo Links
jgo's Work in Progress
Page Top