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Electrical & Electronics Engineering unemployment up as non-U.S. workers flood the job market
Lightwave ^ | 10/15/03 | The editors of Lightwave

Posted on 10/15/2003 8:05:15 AM PDT by null and void

U.S. Electrical and Electronics Engineering unemployment moves upward as thousands of non-U.S. workers continue to flood the job market

14 October 2003 Washington D.C. Lightwave--Although the unemployment rate for all workers fell slightly in the third quarter, the rate moved in the opposite direction for U.S. electrical and electronics engineers (EEs), according to data compiled by the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The jobless rate for EEs rose from 6.4% in the second quarter to 6.7% in the third, while the rate for all workers fell from 5.6% to 5.5%. At the same time, the number of employed EEs fell by 37,000 (from 386,000 to 349,000).

The 6.7% figure is more than six times as high as it was in 1997 (1%), and more than five times as great as 2000 (1.2%). The EE unemployment rate reached an all-time high of 7% in the first quarter of 2003.

Despite continuing high levels of EE unemployment, the government has issued more than 900,000 H-1B visas in new, renewal, and exempt categories since FY 2000, many of them in high-tech fields.

"We're pleased that Congress allowed the annual H-1B cap to drop to 65,000 earlier this month, but U.S. EEs are still competing for scarce jobs in an artificially saturated labor market," said John Steadman, IEEE-USA president-elect. "In addition, demand is shrinking as high-tech jobs are outsourced overseas. Despite the bleak employment outlook, some H-1B proponents are still calling on Congress to increase the number of visa exemptions."

Among other high-tech professionals, the unemployment rate jumped for computer hardware engineers (5.7% to 6.9%), computer software engineers (4.1% to 4.6%), and network and computer systems administrators (5.6% to 7.6%). The rate fell for computer scientists and systems analysts (5.6% to 4.8%), computer programmers (7.5% to 7.1%), and network systems and data communications analysts (5.5% to 5%).

The third-quarter jobless rate for mechanical engineers rose slightly from 3.1% to 3.3%, while the rates for civil engineers (3.9%) and industrial engineers (5.9%)remained the same.

IEEE-USA is an organizational unit of The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers created in 1973 to advance the public good, while promoting the careers and public-policy interests of the more than 235,000 electrical, electronics, computer and software engineers who are U.S. members of the IEEE. The IEEE is the world's largest technical professional society.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: engineer; h1b; ieee; immigration; jobmarket; jobs; williegreen
This is the "offical" unemployment rate.

It doesn't count under employed (burger flipping EE's), or engineers who have dropped off the radar as their benefits expired.

1 posted on 10/15/2003 8:05:16 AM PDT by null and void
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2 posted on 10/15/2003 8:06:29 AM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: null and void
I am glad that the IT workers suffered. They needed it. I remember in the 70's and 80's when blue collar workers were losing their jobs to cheaper overseas companies, they were told by their college educated counterparts that is what you get when you did not go to college. The IT workers were acting like typical yuppies. At that time they were young, able to capitalize on the office automation revolution and command the high salaries. They thought they were riding on the hitech wave of the future and had secured jobs, laughing at the ones who did not go to college. Unfortunately things started to change when these IT workers got older. At the age of 45 they were considered obsolete and were being replaced by younger workers who had the latest IT knowledge and lower salaries. The whole IT world fell apart when overseas Indian workers mastered the technology and were willing to work for 1/4 or 1/3 the US salaries. Now IT workers have tasted the bitter pill of being treated as a disposable commodity, they may finally come around and join their blue collar workers in pressuring our government to start looking at the social problems being created by "free trade", "globalism" and "immigration" and balance it against the narrow focus on "profits" only approach to economical/social policies.
3 posted on 10/15/2003 8:21:05 AM PDT by Fee
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To: Fee
Did you forget your humanity pill this morning?
4 posted on 10/15/2003 8:26:05 AM PDT by null and void
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To: null and void
Regarding Computer Programmers :

DICE.COM - postings up to 29K from 18K one year ago (even taking into consideration the fact that they now advertise for phlebotomists, this is impressive).

In MHO, the problem of "offshoring" and H1Bs is simply that Americans do not have the "moxie" needed for what the market needs now. They have no idea what the Object paradigm is and were spoiled by the "bring your dog to work" culture of the dot com boom ...
5 posted on 10/15/2003 8:26:33 AM PDT by Seajay (Ordem e Progresso)
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To: Fee
I have never felt this way about any American who has lost his or her job. And I am in IT.
6 posted on 10/15/2003 8:27:32 AM PDT by RiflemanSharpe (An American for a more socially and fiscally conservative America.)
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To: Fee
I am glad that the IT workers suffered.

And people around here call me a gloom and doomer...

7 posted on 10/15/2003 8:46:04 AM PDT by Orangedog (Soccer-Moms are the biggest threat to your freedoms and the republic !)
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To: Fee
All of what you say is true but there are several reasons for concern. One is that those IT and high-tech workers who are now under the gun have traditionally formed the bulk of the middle class consumers. If you want a consumer-driven economy (which is what ours is) then it is an absolute necessity to have a viable consumer class. Also, the middle class has historically provided the economic, social, and political stability to our society. If we destroy the middle class, the social model you are left with is more along the lines of a South American oligarchy.

Another aspect of this is that the high-tech worker is the one who has the best capability for developing new areas of economic activity, things based on knowledge and discovery and innovation. Who else is going to do that? An unemployed textile mill worker isn't likely to make the new discoveries in medicine and biotechnology. An unemployed steel mill worker isn't going to discover the replacement for the microchip. Those low-tech workers are valuable in their own way and should not be discarded like they have been, but the high-tech employee brings to the table other things of value that make it less desirable to throw him away as well.

Finally, what trumps all of this are the issues of national security. We're in the process of a wholesale dismemberment of the intellectual capital of this country. Some of that is absolutely vital to defense industries, things like aerospace, microelectronics, weapons research, energy development, materials science, etc. Without those, we may find ourselves, come the next high-tech war, in the same position as the Polish Army on Sept. 1, 1939, sending the best and prettiest cavalry in the world out against the Nazi panzers.

8 posted on 10/15/2003 8:47:43 AM PDT by chimera
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To: Orangedog
Pure class envy...'s senseless...brainless.

I went back to school to get an engineering job only to face this coming out. Spent my entire life working any job that paid, even pizza delivery just to get the God damned degree.

This "Fee" person, I'm willing to take out behind the woodshed so we can talk about his "feelings".
9 posted on 10/15/2003 9:06:54 AM PDT by Maelstrom (To prevent misinterpretation or abuse of the Constitution:The Bill of Rights limits government power)
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To: chimera
The blue collar working class does not have the skill level to innovate and do R&D. However a well a paid blue color jobs represent a safety valve for the people who due to lack of academic ability, maturity, financial circumstance and other factors go to college. There are many who are book "dumb" but are very good with their hands. Many as they get older will acknowledge that they should have study harder because they do see the difference between the salaries of college educated and high school educated. That experience forms the basis for many blue collar parents to encourage their children to study hard and not miss the opportunity to go to college when their time comes. That is not going to happen if the government and corporate policies of this country encourages the destruction of their salaries and standard of living.
10 posted on 10/15/2003 9:29:07 AM PDT by Fee
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To: Fee
I agree with the sentiment of your post that those workers are important and should not be neglected. The leaders of business and government need to understand that the most vibrant economy will be a viable mix of low-tech, high-tech, and service activity. If the percentages are skewed too heavily in any sector, the stability of the system is lessened.

Look, all honest work is "good" work, in the sense that it maintains current levels and stimulates further growth through maintenance of the consumer class. The problem I have is that too often highly skilled workers are either thrown away (and along with them their knowledge) or are underemployed. We don't want research scientists and systems engineers flipping burgers. It's not good for them, the economy, or the country as a whole.

11 posted on 10/15/2003 9:52:06 AM PDT by chimera
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To: Maelstrom
I consider myself fortunate. After aimlessly drifting through my early 20's and accomplishing nothing, it took the death of a friend to wake me up to two unshakable facts of life: 1)I was NOT immortal and 2) The world was not going to wait for me to make up my mind about what to do with my life. At that point I went to college, got a degree in electronics and was lucky enough to graduate in mid 1997, when the tech boom was really cranking. I managed to work my way up to an engineering position and somehow managed to survive the tech-wreck with my job intact.

The tech wreck has really changed the landscape. Where I work we have engineers doing accounting projects and accountants working on engineering teams. You might want to consider going for a position at a company where you may not have an engineering job description, but in another part of the operation where an engineering point of view might be useful to their operation. Mid sized businesses may be your best bet, since they are not big enough to move their operations to China or India.

I am convinced of one thing, though...within the next 2 to 5 years there is going to be a massive re-ordering of the economy and society, likely to be brought on by a currency crisis in the US dollar. Anyone who has money in the nasdaq right now asking to be mugged.
12 posted on 10/15/2003 10:04:36 AM PDT by Orangedog (Soccer-Moms are the biggest threat to your freedoms and the republic !)
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