Economic News 1996

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updated: 2013-12-04
1996: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


"Slum land-lords or sweat-shop operators during the American mass immigration era apparently did not make particularly high profits." --- Thomas Sowell 1994 _Race & Culture_ pg 112


Clair Brown, Ben Campbell & Greg Pinsoneault _University of California at Berkeley_
Is there a shortage of high-tech workers?
"a professional with 20 years of experience in 1985 earned 48% more than a professional with no experience, and by 1995 this increased to 73%.   Meanwhile in the high-tech industries, an engineer or professional with 20 years of experience earned 55% more than a new hire in 1985 but only 59% more in 1995.   Today high-tech engineers face a less favorable career outlook than engineers in other industries.   This is strong evidence against the existence of a labor shortage...   American universities graduated 1500 PhDs and almost 8K MSs in electrical and communications engineering ('high-tech' engineers) in 1995.   Approximately one-half of engineering PhDs and one-third of engineering MSs were granted to foreign-born students in the mid-1990s...   Companies have little incentive to train older engineers because they can hire from the large flow of newly-trained and cheaper engineers.   Companies save money on training since the recent graduates already have cutting-edge knowledge.   Foreign graduate students are particularly attractive: they are often bound to a company for several years while applying for a green card.   Any decision to increase visas for foreign high-tech workers should be accompanied by the requirement that companies provide training for experienced engineers to ensure that the young engineering graduates are not simply displacing older engineers...   graduate training is subsidized and since this education guarantees a middle-class life-style, as a country we should ask to what extent we want to allocate this training to foreign students instead of U.S. students...   The current debate over temporary visas for high-tech workers should be transformed into a debate about the continuing education of older engineers and the engineering graduate educational opportunities provided to U.S. students."




_Challenger, Gray & Christmas_
"Blizzard of December Lay-offs!"











"He [Martin Luther King] defined peace as a presence of justice, not quietness and the absence of noise." --- Jesse Jackson quoted on _CNN_
King's message pondered on national holiday

"True democracy presupposes 2 conditions: 1st, that the vast majority of the people have a genuine opinion upon public affairs; 2ndly, that electors will use their power as a public benefit." --- Andre Siegfried (quoted in Margaret Shertzer 1986 _The Elements of Grammar_ pg 93)


Howard F. Stein
Death Imagery and the Experience of Organizational Down-sizing
"The experiential realities of down-sizing, reductions in force (RIFing), re-structuring, re-engineering, right-sizing, & out-placement, are often at wide variance with their touted, and widely expected promises of increased productivity, efficiency, team-work, role interchangeability, & profit.   They often fall short of the promise of more for less...
  I shall ask you to wonder about our own business-related cultural presuppositions, most of which are not articulated in mission statements and strategic plans, to wonder why getting rid of people on large scale in the work-place via upper management decision-making is the first and final solution (the latter, a term upper management often uses) we now offer and implement to organizational problems of profit, loss, productivity, and global competition.   Why this?   Why now?...
  Down-sizing, Reductions in force or RIFing, re-structuring, re-engineering, right-sizing, out-placement, out-sourcing, & trimming fat, to name but several core words, are not primarily business decisions determined by economic rationality, enlightened self-interest, pragmatism, realism, empiricism, & objectivity...   down-sizing as a mode of decision-making & of induced social change is opaque to comprehension without our first recognizing that it rests upon unstated values placed on human life, well-being, & loyalty, to name but 3 dimensions...
  Even _The Wall Street Journal_ and _The Washington Post_ (e.g. K.D. Grimsley 1995 November 13-19 'The down-side of down-sizing: What's good for the bottom line isn't necessarily good for business' _The Washington Post National Weekly Edition_ pp 16-17) now feature articles that raise skeptical 'second thoughts' about the heady promises advocates of down-sizing made in the 1980s era of corporate leveraged buy-outs, raids, take-overs, & mergers...
  It has been estimated that two-thirds of all large firms in the United States (US) -- [2/3 of those with] more than 5K employees -- reduced their work-forces in the latter half of the 1980s.   From 1983 to 1988, approximately 4.6M US workers were displaced, with 2.7M (57.8%) resulting from plant closings.   An estimated 300K jobs will be lost in the banking industry alone in the 1990s, & over 200K jobs are being eliminated as part of the federal government's 'Reinvention' effort."


1996-02-23 11:15PST (14:15EST) (19:15GMT)
Allan Dodds Frank _CNNfn_
The hidden costs of down-sizing
"Eric Greenberg: 'down-sizing fails to improve the product quality in most companies.   And only 47% or 48% of companies that had cut jobs since 1990 said their profits went up afterwards, according to Eric Greenberg, director of management studies for the [American Management Association].'...   In 1994, after lay-offs at General Motors, workers went on strike to protest unwanted over-time.   GM relented and rehired 1,800 workers."

"The fact is that full employment is a nebulous & misleading term.   There are always unemployed resources, raw materials, & unfinished goods that need to be transformed into usable tools & capital." --- Mark Skousen 1991 _Economics on Trial_ pg 52




1996-03-03 17:17

Science & Engineering Lobby Day in DC: more foreign labor being imported, falling engineering employment, more US STEM grads, too many STEM PhDs









Michael J. Mandel _Business Week_
Is all that angst misplaced?: America can't return to the security of the 1960s but job gains and rising wages show the worst is probably over
"Slow growth.   Unemployment.   Inflation.   Foreign competition.   Somewhere along the way, they say, America has gotten off track.   'I don't think you can say to your kids anymore, ''If you study hard and play by the rules, things are going to be O.K.''', says Stephen D. McGregor, 44, a public-relations executive at a Dallas technology company who in the past 5 years has been laid off by both American Airlines and MCI...
  The U.S. unemployment rate hovers at a low 5.8%...   Job insecurity -- and it's a big one.   In January alone, U.S. corporations announced almost 100K job cuts, up sharply from a monthly rate of 37K during 1995.   'In December, I was telling people [job cuts] were slowing down.', says John A. Challenger, executive vice-president at Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., an out-placement firm.   'But they're accelerating again.'...
  A full 11% of male, college-educated workers lost their jobs from 1991 through 1993, according to a new study by Princeton University economist Henry S. Farber.   By comparison, during the recession years of 1981 to 1983, 8% of this group experienced a job loss...   massive corporate down-sizings...   Of the 8M new jobs created in the past 4 years, some 60% were managerial and professional positions.   In 1995 alone, the U.S. economy created more than 1M new managerial and professional jobs...
  Immigrants represent just 9% of the labor force, and merchandise imports account for only 10% of gross domestic product.   Moreover, some 60% of U.S. non-oil imports come from countries with higher labor costs, like Japan and Germany, giving little incentive to cut wages in the U.S.A. to compete...   $175G trade deficit in 1995...   the European Community, Japan, and Canada -- have been stuck in slow gear...
  Since 1992, real [American] corporate profits have risen by 34%, a bigger increase than they registered during the previous 15 years...   In 1987, 57% of high school graduates went to college soon after graduation.   That percentage now is 62% and climbing, despite rising college costs.   By comparison, the percentage of high school graduates enrolling in college hardly rose from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s."

_AP_/_SunCoast Today_
Laid-off workers don't profit as companies recover
"At one time, the Wyman-Gordon metal forging plant was teeming with workers...   Today, only a fraction of the more than 2K people who once worked there remain.   But even though Wyman-Gordon is showing improving profits, the company is exhibiting no signs of sharing its new fortunes with its laid-off workers.   Industry experts say it's a common pattern...
  Gary N. Chaisson, professor of labor relations at Clark University's Graduate School of Management [said] 'The average worker is not sharing in the turn-around.'...   In the last 5 years, the number of steel-workers has dropped from nearly 1,200 to about 500...
  According to the job-tracking firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., companies nationwide eliminated 439,882 jobs last year, down slightly from 1994, when corporate earnings were not nearly as strong as they were in 1995.   Another 97,379 jobs were cut in January, the largest number of lay-offs in 2 years, Challenger reported.   Massachusetts has seen similar cuts.   Bank of Boston, which is buying BayBanks Corp., plans to cut 2K workers by the middle of the year.   Fleet Financial Group is slicing 3K jobs.   3 years into Massachusetts' economic recovery, companies have replaced only about 100K of the 250K jobs lost during the recession."







Steve Lohr _NY Times_
Down-Sizing: How It Feels to Be Fired
"More and more of the jobs disappearing are those of higher-paid, white-collar employees, often at large corporations.   Many of the newly jobless have college degrees or graduate degrees.   Education no longer protects workers from being cast out...   'Five years ago, I thought Deming could be the voice of the corporate world.   Now I know it is really Dilbert.', wrote Tom Scott of Encinitas..."



Michael S. Teitelbaum _NY Times_ "Too Many Engineers, Too Few Jobs" (quoted in Eric Weinstein _National Bureau of Economic Research_/_National Science Foundation_)

PEAT "Shortage" reading list How and Why Government, Universities, and Industry Create Domestic Labor Shortages of Scientists and High-Tech Workers (with graphs)
"There is no shortage, there is a surplus."
Issues of Legislation and Merit in Scientific Labor Markets

1996 March
James C. Lawson _The World & I_
"When AT&T announced 40K lay-offs less than 48 hours after the new year began, it was another vivid reminder that job security is nothing to take for granted.   Down-sizing, right-sizing, re-structuring, or corporate re-engineering -- whatever the name -- often means loss of a job, changing work responsibilities, or planning one's next career move.
  Last year, companies trimmed 439,883 jobs.   Since 1993, corporations have dropped 1.4M people from their pay-rolls, reports Challenger Gray & Christmas, a Chicago-based out-placement firm.   Mergers prompted 16%, or 72,083, of those lay-offs.   The cruelest cuts may have come in December, when companies eliminated 55,237 jobs...   Many of the displaced workers are finding new jobs -- some with greater responsibilities than they had in their previous positions.   Although some may not find jobs in the same industry, they may find positions in other industries where they can use the same job skills.   Challenger estimates about 85% - 90% of displaced workers find new jobs within 3 to 4 months of losing their old ones.   Although it may take longer, employees over 50 also are finding new opportunities in the job market."

"'Civil-ized' people do not need to be tightly constrained by laws or closely monitored by the organs of state.   Lacking such civility, they do, & society must over time become much less free." --- Richard J. Herrnstein & Charles Murray 1994 _The Bell Curve_ pg 254

1996 April
Richard Pascale & Brian Cairns _FastCompany_ issue 2 pg 62
The False Security of 'Employability': In the era of massive lay-offs, 'employability' has emerged as a consoling notion.   Don't believe it -- there's no easy answer to job loss.   (with feed-back)
"In fact, the death of job security, like any death, means that we have to learn to relate to the pain, not escape from it.   Once upon a time, corporations were like ocean liners.   Anyone fortunate enough to secure a berth cruised through a career and disembarked at retirement age.   A clear agreement charted the voyage: in return for loyalty, sacrifice, bureaucratic aggravation, and the occasional demanding boss, you received job security for life...
  In the United States alone, economist Robert Topel estimates that more than 12.2M white-collar workers lost their jobs between 1989 and 1991 and another 3M since then; of these, only 6.3M found jobs -- which, on the average, earned 30% less than before.   The corporations, on the other hand, saw aggregate profits rise to near-record levels -- a 10% increase in 1994 after a 13% increase in 1993...
  Leavers feel discarded and betrayed.   Survivors are consumed with their attempts to tough it out in jobs that have lost their joy, spontaneity, and personal relevancy...
  Ray Oldenburg, author of _The Great Good Place_, asserts that a healthy and balanced social identity has historically relied on 3 factors -- family, work, and 'a third place'...   it must be neutral ground; rank is forgotten there; conversation, rather than music or video games, is the central source of entertainment; it is frequented by a core group of regulars; and it fosters playful interpersonal exchange...   The Third Place provides its guests with novelty, perspective on life, a spiritual tonic (Oldenburg's phrase), and friends by the set -- that is, friendships with an open and inclusive group that are more important than any one relationship between specific individuals.   The problem in America is that the Third Place (once provided by the church, community groups, and the tavern) has largely vanished."


Gene A. Nelson and others _Network of Emerging Scientists_
Health insurance for self-employed; Seeking professional association favoring employment opportunity; AIP employment stats; New web sites for science jobs; Scientists must join the fray; S&E employment; Discouraging words, a reality check


Gene A. Nelson _NAS_
We're All in This LifeBoat Together
"I earned my B.S. in biophysics from HMC in 1973, was a researcher at JPL, and earned my Ph.D. from SUNY Buffalo in biophysics in 1984...   The value of organizing to fight those interests intent on destroying the American S&E enterprise is clear.   Their most likely motivation is 'short term profitability' -- usually manifested as greed.   Mostly younger S&Es have shouldered the brunt of these harmful changes.   In these changes, a small group of individuals have dramatically reduced the S&E's retained portion of the value added to goods and services.   That loss decreases the probability that S&Es will have the power as individuals to reverse the harmful career trends.   The only choice left is to organize and to be politically active.   Now...   Some Statistics That Underscore The Talent Glut and the shortage of funding:... Only between FY1964 and 1966 were R&D funds above 11% of the Federal budget.   Current levels are in the vicinity of 4% of the Federal budget...   A projection of the future by representative George E. Brown of California from page 4 of the 1996 April 1 issue of Chemical & Engineering News indicates that... science faces a 'major diminution of Federal support for R&D', on the order of 30% over the next 7 years.   Coupled with cuts in private -- sector support for R&D, he predicts a loss of about 160K science and technology related jobs over that period (or about 1/6 of all individuals employed in R&D in the U.S.)...   New graduates are often retained for a short period of time by industry, then discarded.   Many can't pay back their student loans after they are un-employed or under-employed.   Contrast the supply of about 330K B.S. S&Es per year with the very modest 55,850 increase in annual demand for B.S. and above projections by Braddock under the 'Low real GNP growth model' in the Monthly Labor Review 1992 February, Page 35.   Then factor in the increase in immigration under IMMACT-90, obtained under suspect pretenses by American industry and universities.   With just the H1-B 'visiting worker' visa program and the S&E preference visas, around 200K new S&Es may be added annually by immigration.   Recent NSF estimates place the total R&D employment in the U.S. at approximately 1M.   That means in about 5 years, the entire U.S. R&D labor force could be replaced with lower-cost immigrants.   These post-1990 actions have the potential to destroy the career prospects for almost all S&Es, whether they are previous immigrants or natural born citizens of the United States.   That is why we are all in this life-boat together.   S&E immigration policies must be reformed so that they do not harm current U.S. S&E employees...   The Immigration Act of 1990 (IMMACT 90) boosted allowable S&E preference visas from 54K per year to 140K per year, primarily on the basis of an alleged 'shortfall' being widely promoted from 1985-on by the National Science Foundation.   This 'shortfall' never materialized.   Factors that have made the S&E employment situation worse were widespread industry cut-backs in both defense and non - defense research and development (R&D), coupled with government sector cut-backs.   The 1976 Eilberg Amendment was another factor that boosted S&E immigration...   Scientists and Professors were added to the 'special handling' provisions for colleges and universities in a 1976 technical amendment by the Pennsylvania representative, Joshua Eilberg.   This exemption from labor certification for universities and colleges, coupled with the 'Baby Boom' and Cold-War induced S&E supply glut, essentially closed off S&E career opportunities in higher education for U.S. citizens.   Many foreigners offer the 'advantage' of their willingness to accept lower salaries, allowing meager research and instructional budgets to be stretched further.   The AAU [Association of American Universities] was very pleased with this exemption and sent a letter of appreciation to representative Eilberg..."
bio & article

"The will to win means nothing if you have not the will to prepare." --- Juma Ikangaa circa 1988


_Department of Labor Office of Inspector General_
The Department of Labor's Foreign Labor Certification Programs: The System Is Broken and Needs To Be Fixed
The audit results demonstrate legislative and regulatory changes are needed if the programs are to accomplish the objectives of ensuring U.S. workers' jobs are protected and their wage levels are not eroded by foreign labor...
We performed an audit of DoL's employment-based permanent labor certification (PLC) program and the temporary H-1B Labor Condition Application (LCA) program for the period 1992 October 1 through 1993 September 30...
If such programs continue, DoL should be removed from the process unless a meaningful role is defined.   We believe changes must be made to ensure U.S. and wage levels are protected...
The PLC program is employment-based and is intended to exclude aliens who seek admission to the U.S. or status as an immigrant for employment purposes when qualified, willing U.S. workers are available for jobs.   The program does not currently protect U.S. workers’ jobs; instead, it allows aliens to immigrate based on their attachment to a specific job and then shop their services in competition with equally or more qualified U.S. workers without regard to prevailing wage.
The LCA program is intended to provide U.S. businesses with timely access to the "best and the brightest" in the international labor market to meet urgent but generally temporary business needs while protecting U.S. workers wage levels.   We found the program does not always meet urgent, short-term demand for highly skilled, unique individuals who are not available in the domestic work force.   Instead, it serves as a probationary try-out employment program for illegal aliens, foreign students, and foreign visitors to determine if they will be sponsored for permanent status.
The Permanent Labor Certification Program
For the 24,150 aliens for whom alien labor certification applications were certified under the
PLC program, we determined:
99% were in the U.S. when the application was filed.
74% were working for the U.S. employer at the time of application.
16% of these were out of status.
8% had pleasure visas.
1% had business visas.
4% were in the U.S. illegally.
3% had other visas.
11% never worked for the petitioning employer after adjustment to permanent resident status even though the only reason for obtaining the green card was that no qualified, willing U.S. workers were available.
17% left the employer within 6 months after adjustment to permanent resident status.
The PLC labor market test is perfunctory at best and a sham at worst.   The PLC program requires a test of the labor market to ensure there are no qualified, willing, and available U.S. workers for employment in a job for which an application has been made.   For the 12 states in our sample, we analyzed all SESA job orders related to alien certification applications, referrals, and placements for a 6-month period.   Of the 28,682 applicants referred on 10,631 job orders during the period, only 5 (0.02%) were hired.
We also evaluated the results of the labor market test for the 600 cases included in our random sample of permanent labor applications certified during the audit period.   Our results have been projected to the universe of 23,403 cases during the audit period that required a test of the labor market.
23% (5,392) had no resumes in response to advertising and no SESA referrals.
77% (18,011) resulted in 136,367 applicants and only 104 hires, a 0.08% hire rate.   These 104 hires were incidental to the aliens being hired; i.e., the specific jobs advertised were still filled by the aliens.
The Labor Condition Application Program
Based on our employer contacts, we determined that 4% of the aliens in the LCA program were treated as independent contractors by their LCA employers, and 6% were contracted out, by their LCA employers, to other employers.   Moreover, our contacts with LCA employers disclosed:
75% of the aliens worked for employers who did not adequately document that the wage specified on the LCA was the proper wage, and 19% of the aliens were paid below the wage specified on the LCA, when we could determine the actual wage paid.
Some LCA employers use alien labor to reduce pay-roll costs either by paying less than prevailing wage to their own alien employees or treating these aliens as independent contractors, thereby avoiding related pay-roll and administrative costs.   Other LCA employers are 'job shops' [bodyshops] whose business is to provide H- 1B alien contract labor to other employers.
The only protection the LCA H-1B program supposedly provides U.S. workers is that the employer is required to pay the alien the prevailing wage for the specialty occupation.   Yet, with the increasing use of H-1B workers and employers' failure to either document and/or pay the prevailing wage, the prevailing wage may be eroded over time.
The LCA program has become a stepping stone to obtain permanent resident status not only for the "best and brightest" specialists but also for students, relatives, and friends...
Despite a costly, time-consuming recruitment process, the required labor market test did not result in the hiring of U.S. workers over foreign labor.   The PLC program's required labor market test is ineffective in ensuring that qualified, willing, and available U.S. workers are given a fair opportunity to compete for the jobs for which aliens are hired...   While many U.S. workers apply for the jobs covered by the application, few get hired...
Employers consider the labor market test to be perfunctory rather than real.   Employers conduct the labor market test to comply with the law. That the labor market test is perfunctory is suggested in a handbook for immigration attorneys...
all interviews were conducted by the alien, who was already illegally working in this position.   Not surprisingly, all 11 applicants were found to be unqualified...   'Remember that you must conduct this process as though the job is open to any qualified U.S. worker.'   Another case in our sample emphasizes this 'determination process' is manipulated to not hire qualified [US] applicants...
The alien hired an attorney and paid all of the expenses in obtaining the visa.   The attorney handled all the details including advertising the job and reviewing 101 applicants' resumes.   At no time did the employer set up any interviews with the applicants.   All applicants were determined not qualified for the job, most because they did not have experience operating a specific type of grinder.   Only one of the employer's 7 machine operators, including the alien, had any experience with the particular brand of grinder when they were hired.   Many of the 101 applicants had more grinding experience than the alien did when he was originally hired.   The employer indicated he was not willing to train another machine operator since he had already trained the illegal alien.   The alien's pay ranged from $9.50 to $11.50 per hour, significantly less than the advertised wage of $14.50.   The employer stated he thought the $14.50 per hour rate on the application was what he would have to pay anyone he might have hired, but he did not realize that he had to pay this rate to the alien who already worked for him...
Employers specifically tailor advertised job requirements to aliens' qualifications....
Over one-third of the PLC aliens either never worked for the sponsoring employer after adjusting to permanent resident status or left employment within 1 year of adjusting status....
The Labor Condition Application Program is Being Manipulated Beyond Its Intent of Providing Employers the Best and Brightest in the International Labor Market While Protecting the Wage Levels of U.S. Workers....
Unlike the PLC program, the LCA program does not require there be a shortage of U.S. workers in the occupation for which the aliens are being hired...
While some employers may have used the H-1B program as intended, others manipulated the program to fill entry level jobs and positions requiring a baccalaureate degree.   Some of the H-1B aliens were paid as independent contractors, some were contracted out by the petitioning employer to other businesses, and others owned the businesses that petitioned on their behalf.   Furthermore, the majority of employers did not adequately document how the required wage rate was established, and some employers paid less than the established wage.   The LCA program is an attestation program, meaning employers are not required to provide any supporting documentation to substantiate information on the LCA submitted to DoL in order to have it approved...   DoL has the responsibility for basically 'rubber stamping' completed LCAs...
In our opinion, not all types of jobs being filled by H-1B aliens necessarily represent jobs that would enhance U.S. employers' abilities to compete in a global economy.   While there is no requirement that there be a labor shortage in the occupation for which employers file LCAs, the H-1B program is being used to staff such positions as: accountants, piano instructors and accompanists, primary school teachers, physicians, and assistant professors and professors.   While [most of] the aliens who filled these positions may have baccalaureate degrees, or equivalent, we question whether the jobs meet the full definition of specialty occupation...
In our opinion, while ETA is doing all it can within its authority, the PLC and LCA programs do not protect U.S. workers' jobs or wages and, therefore, neither program meets its legislative intent.   DoL's role amounts to little more than a paper shuffle for the PLC program and a 'rubber stamping' for LCA program applications.   As a result, annual expenditures of approximately $50M for DoL's foreign labor certification programs do little to 'add value' to the process of protecting American jobs and wages.
The PLC Program Does Not Meet Its Legislative Intent of Excluding Foreign Workers When Qualified, Willing U.S. Workers Are Available.
The PLC program is employment-based and is intended to exclude aliens who seek admission to the U.S.A., or status as an immigrant, for employment purposes when qualified, willing U.S. workers are available for jobs.   However, we found that the program does not currently protect U.S. workers' jobs.   Instead, the PLC program allows aliens to immigrate, based on their attachment to a specific job, and then shop their services, in competition with equally or more qualified U.S. workers without regard to prevailing wages...
Some LCA employers use alien labor to reduce pay-roll costs either by paying less than the prevailing wage to their alien employees or treating these aliens as independent contractors, thereby avoiding related pay-roll and administrative costs.   Other LCA employers are 'job shops' [a.k.a. bodyshops] whose business is to provide H-1B alien contract labor to other employers.
The only protection the LCA program supposedly provides U.S. workers is that the employer is required to [declare that they will] pay the alien the prevailing wage for the specialty occupation.   Yet, with the increasing use of LCA workers and employers' failure to either document and/or pay the prevailing wage, the prevailing wage may be eroded over time."

1996 May
_Migration News_
DoL Reports on Temporary Workers
"The US Department of Labor's inspector general in April released a 12-state audit of DoL labor certification activities that concluded that 'foreign labor programs [that admit temporary and permanent immigrants to fill vacant US jobs]... do not protect US workers' jobs or wages from foreign labor'.   The audit recommends that the temporary foreign professionals program, the H-1B program established by IMMACT in 1990, be abolished."

"[M]an is not made for defeat.   A man can be destroyed & not defeated." --- Ernest Hemingway _The Old Man & the Sea_ (quoted in Rita Mae Brown 1989 April _Starting from Scratch_ pg 76)

1996 June
Sheldon Richman _Future of Freedom Foundation_
Foreign Workers Are Good for America
"The U.S. Labor Department says the program that allows foreigners to work in this country is a 'sham' because it fails to protect American workers' jobs and wages.   Under the program, thousands of non-citizens work in the United States.   But those workers are supposed to have 'unique' skills that employers cannot find in native workers.
The Inspector General of the Labor Department recently audited the program and found that, contrary to the law, employers don't really look for Americans to fill the jobs and don't pay prevailing wages."
[The sham is that the executives and their lobbyists were the ones who claimed that there were no capable Americans, that they were only going to be hiring those pre-eminent super-stars whose like could not be found, and that they would pay them prevailing compensation... but they failed to keep their words.   If they hadn't lied, and so long as they gave the prospective immigrants (temporary or permanent) security checks, I'd have no problem with any of them crossing borders to do honest work...jgo]

1996 June
Alleged Deception of the Congressional Task Force on Immigration Reform

Claudia Allen _NACE_
Government exposes fake help-wanted ads
"Caution: There may be no job behind that classified newspaper ad.   So says the Federal Trade Commission, which today announced charges against 9 companies and 16 individuals the agency says were engaged in the fraudulent marketing of employment services for up-front fees of $35 to hundreds of dollars.   The FTC said the 7 schemes run by these defendants start with the placement of classified advertisements in the employment sections of newspapers nationwide touting positions such as 'financial analyst', 'engineering' and 'government positions'.   When consumers call the numbers in the ads, telemarketers hype themselves as job placement services with special access to specific job openings.   Few, if any, consumers ever receive the type of job placement assistance promised by these scam artists, and the vast majority of consumers never see their money again.   The red flag, the FTC said, is that they charge up-front fees coupled with refund guarantees or require credit card or bank account information with a promise that no immediate charges or debits will occur."

1996 June
top 500 fastest super computers LinPack bench-mark (rated in giga Floating-point Operations / second) alternate link

"A right to jury trial is granted to criminal defendants in order to prevent oppression by the Government." --- Byron White 1968 _Duncan v Louisiana_ 391 US 145, 155


D. Richardson
BLS daily report
"In the survey of 478 members of the ISCEBS, 72% said their companies use contingent workers [bodyshopping], and 60% said their businesses use more contingent workers currently than they did 5 years ago.   But 64% of the respondents believe the use of contingent workers will 'max out' at some critical ratio of core-to-contingent workers, according to a report on the survey...   Merger-related job cuts were down 31% in the first 6 months of 1996 compared with the first half of 1995, said Challenger, Gray & Christmas...   (Washington Post page C1)...   The Wall Street Journal's 'Work Week' column (page A1) reports in its last paragraph that 'Companies with at least 50 workers spent an average of [only] $51 per employee on tuition reimbursement in 1994, the Labor Department says.'"

1996 July
A volatile business climate continues to drive unemployed into entrepreneurship
"In a business climate fraught with constant change, corporate lay-offs have become a common business practice.   For many corporations, out-sourcing business functions is more cost-effective than handling them internally.   At the same time, new technology is allowing big business to replace bodies with machines, robbing workers of their jobs.   And with the bottom line often the top priority, profit-driven job cuts are now in vogue...
Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago-based corporate out-placement company, estimates the number of lay-off victims who have turned to entrepreneurship has roughly doubled in just two years, ballooning from 6% to 8% in to 12% to 15% in 1995.   While the rate of lay-offs slowed between 1993 and 1994, economists acknowledge lay-offs are still continuing at a much higher pace than was the case a decade ago -- and there's even been a slight acceleration in lay-offs in recent months.   Overall, economists believe not only is this phenomenon likely to continue, but also that, in part, its effects will be more far-reaching than in years past...   1990s-style lay-offs are occurring in industries [and job levels] across the board...
According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a whopping $866G worth of mergers took place in the United States last year, setting a new record; these mergers resulted in more than 72K lay-offs.   And there's no sign of any slowing: By the first quarter of this year, there had already been $208G in mergers."

1996 Summer
_Audubon Update_/_Columbia University-Presbyterian Medical Center_
Positive Technology Inc. brings bodyshopping to the city
"A veteran of the computer industry for 29 years, Mr. Holmes realized he could tap into a work-force of skilled, but unemployed or under-employed, experienced computer professionals and offer them jobs.   He also identified ways to offer clients high quality services at low costs.   For example, because of the location of the business in Upper Manhattan's Empowerment Zone, PTI is eligible for tax savings, which are passed on to clients.   'PTI is an alternative to companies that want to outsource projects overseas to reduce costs.', says Mr. Holmes.   'We are more accessible because we're domestic and we offer competitive fees because of our low overhead and the way we aggressively pursue tax advantages.'   Mr. Holmes started PTI in 1993 in Los Angeles, where he now employs 6 people.   The company offers technical consulting and technical employee placement and outsourcing.   Technical disciplines such as software development, application enabling, technical writing, and conversion are among PTI's strengths.   PTI can support clients in mainframe, client server, P/C, and midrange environments."

"Americans used to roar like lions for liberty, now we bleat like sheep for security." --- Norman Vincent Peale


D. Mark Wilson _Heritage Foundation FYI #115_
Duration of Unemployment
"How long Americans are unemployed (duration) is just as important as the level of unemployment.   An unemployment rate of 7.5% with most workers out of work for only a week as they change jobs or are recalled from lay-off is significantly better than an unemployment rate of 5.5% with many workers still struggling to find work 6 months after losing their last job.
Because of weak economic growth, long-term joblessness has not declined as rapidly as it normally does after recessions.   Long-term unemployment remains subbornly high... the proportion of Americans unemployed for at least 6 months remains unusually high after 5 years of modest economic growth.
Since the end of the last recession, the proportion of unemployed who have been out of work for 6 months or more has not dropped significantly for youths (ages 16 to 24), black Americans, & service workers.   After 6 months of looking for work, almost 1 of every 5 unemployed managers & professionals still has not found job.   The overall rate also does not reveal significant problems facing workers in various age groups, industries, or occupations.
While the total unemployment rate was 5.4% in 1996 July, the rate for all teenagers was 16.4%, & the rate for black teenagers was 33.1%...   For men, real median weekly earnings have declined 5.1%.   For black & Hispanic Americans, the decline has been even worse: 5.4% & 8.2%, respectively. After increasing 2.5% from the first quarter of 1991 to the first quarter of 1993, the index of real hourly compensation has not increased...
There actually are fewer manufacturing jobs now than when the economic recovery began 5 years ago, & the dismal pace of economic growth has meant no substantial improvement in job opportunities for men & minorities.   Workers in some occupations have not yet regained the ground they lost in the last recession...
The number of Americans working in high-skilled technician & related occupations has declined 478K since 1992 July...   (These occupations include clinical laboratory technologists, dental hygienists, emergency medical technicians, surgical technicians, & licensed practical nurses as well as aircraft pilots, air traffic controllers, computer programmers, & engineering technicians.)"

Percentage of Unemployed Workers Out of Work for 27 Weeks or More

High Lay-Offs & Long-Term UnEmployment Cloud Jobs Picture (citing Mark Wilson 1996-04-19 "Why Americans Are Right to Be Anxious in Clinton's Lackluster Economy" Heritage Foundation FYI #96;
BLS 1995 September "Long-Term Unemployment Remains High During Recovery" _Issues in Labor Statistics_ Summary 95-11;
BLS "Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage & Salary Workers: Second Quarter 1996", 1996 July 18 & various years;
BLS press release, "The Employment Situation" 1996 July 5, & various months;
BLS _Employment & Earnings_ various months)

_Washington Techology_
Who's On first

1996 July/August
Robert Samuelson, Jonathan Marshall, Irwin M. Stelzer, John Cassidy & Herbert Stein _American Enterprise_
Is America's Economy Really Failing?

1996 July/August
Sheila Tobias, Daryl E. Chubin & Kevin Aylesworth _NY Academy of Sciences_
Chutes and Ladders: in an unstable market for new PhDs success in science must be redefined to include careers outside the ivory tower (pdf)
"51 years ago, Vannevar Bush, the science adviser to president Roosevelt during the 2nd World War, delivered to his new president, Harry S. Truman, a set of prescriptions for post-war science.   Bush was concerned that career interruptions caused by the war would lead to a postwar short fall in science workers.   In his report to Truman, Science -- The Endless Frontier, Bush paved the way for 2 of the 3 elements essential for a healthy science infrastructure: federal support for research and federal funds for graduate training.   Bush's genius was to marry the two by recommending that funding to university professors be structured in part as apprenticeship grants to young people.   As long as the National Science Foundation [NSF]; NASA; the Departments of Defense, Agriculture and Energy; and the National Institutes of Health (on the gove rnment side) and technology -- intensive industries (on the commercial side) grew in mission and size, the third essential element—sustaining the demand for science-trained professionals—could take care of itself.   As recently as 1987 sustaining that demand was no problem at all: the National Science Foundation (NSF) was forecasting a cumulative short-fall of between 675K and 692K science and engineering bachelor's degrees by 2006, followed by a proportionate shortage of PhDs...   Yet in less than 4 years the short-fall all but evaporated.   Employment data for scientists vary from survey to survey, and so comparison is difficult, but the overall trends are clear.   By 1991 colleges, universities, industrial laboratories and even the national laboratories began to report staggering increases in the numbers of PhDs in physical science and mathematics seeking employment: 200 on average for every academic job opening in physics or astronomy between 1990 and 1995; 1,000 for every opening in the mathematical sciences in the same period.   A 1993 survey by the American Chemical Society called it the 'worst employment situation for chemists in the past 20 years', after a whopping 1,300 candidates registered at the ACS Employment Clearinghouse for only 250 posted positions."

1996 August
Bob Boehm _USC_
Lessons Learned on an Early Application Generator
"Again, I didn't realize it at the time, but the big Atlas rocket simulation program was an early example of domain engineering, software product line architecting, and software reuse...   Eventually, the program was used regularly at over 50 installations.   It turned out to be quite portable, running on IBM (7000 and 360 series), Control Data, DEC, GE, Honeywell, and Univac machines.   It was not a big burden to maintain, although there were occasional peaks of activity to add new capabilities, such as aerodynamic heating and non-stationary trackers."
spin-offs of Control Data Corporation
Control Data time-line

1996 August
William C. Goodman _Monthly Labor Review_
The software and engineering industries: Threatened by technological change?
"Since 1990, job growth has slowed in the engineering and software industries; many factors contributed to the slow-down, including reduced defense spending and more automated processes achieved through highly sophisticated software.   This article describes the nature of the two industries in some detail, explains the major developments that affect employment in the industries, and examines the impact of those developments on the number of jobs in engineering and computer service firms."

1996 August
Jacqueline Warnke _Monthly Labor Review_
Computer manufacturing: Change and competition
"An historical study of the computer industry reveals that computer manufacturers add workers to their pay-rolls, then shed them when the products they manufacture undergo technological change, increased demand, and international competition; what is the impact on workers in the industry?   The computer manufacturing industry [dumped] 32% of its work-force from 1984 to 1995.   This article discusses some of the reasons behind this employment decline, which include a shift in focus from computer hardware to software, changing industry dynamics, international competition, and emerging technologies."

1996 August
Laura Freeman _Monthly Labor Review_
Job creation and the emerging home computer market
"The rapid spread of personal computers for use at home has generated more than 150K jobs in sales and software since 1988 -- 58K in 1995 alone; the PC software industry and the information retrieval services industry, in particular, have benefited from rising employment.   This article explores the job growth in each of these industries and the impetus behind it."

1996 August
Sheila McConnell _Monthly Labor Review_
The role of computing in reshaping the work-force
"Today's versatile computers have some impact on nearly every occupation and industry in the U.S. economy, unlike past technology which usually affected only specific jobs.   This article presents an overview of the 6 articles included in this series; it begins by summarizing some of the rapid changes that have occurred in computer technology over the years."

1996 August
Ron L. Hetrick _Monthly Labor Review_
Employment in high-tech defense industries in a post cold war era
"Defense high-technology manufacturing industries attempt to redefine their markets, and join partnerships, as employment and technological innovation suffer from decreasing defense budgets.   This article explores recent employment trends in high-tech defense industries and implications that current efforts might have for jobs in the future."

"[I]f you quit, you are 100% assured of failure.   If you keep trying, you always have a chance of success!" --- T.L. Katahn 1994 _Reading For a Living_ pg 102


Claudia Allen _NACE_
Starting Salaries for New Grads
Economics & Finance$29,432
Computer Science$35,222
Computer Engineering$37,529
EE Engineering$38,025
Chemical Engineering$41,443
Mechanical Engineering$37,036
Industrial Engineering$36,218
Civil Engineering$31,308



brigadier general Benton K. Partin _900_
Deadly Failures in Intelligence Analysis and Defense Unpreparedness

Re-Centered SAT Scores
"We decided to recenter the SAT score scale because our first obligation is to score and scale the SAT so that it will most fairly and accurately predict students' prospects in college.   Recentering does this by distributing scores to reflect the composition of the million plus college-bound seniors who take the SAT today, not the 10,654 who took it in 1941 -- mostly men (62%) and many from independent schools (41%).   Yet some would index today's students' scores to that small and unrepresentative group of students who took the SAT prior to World War 2.   In 1996, 1,084,725 students took the test; 53% were women, 30% minorities and 83% from public high schools." --- Donald M. Stewart, College Board


I. Jeanne Dugan _Business Week_
Small businesses that were swamped with resumes just a few years ago now face a crunch
"Now that the recession has faded, the small businesses the government says led the nation back to prosperity with 3-quarters of all new jobs face a road-block: They have more slots than bodies and are losing scarce workers to a new wave of up-sizing by large corporations.   Entrepreneurial companies that were swamped with unsolicited resumes a few years ago are turning to head-hunters, home-makers, temporary workers, and welfare recipients...   After years of lagging behind the national average, small companies plan to boost compensation 3% this year, says a survey by Arthur Andersen Enterprise Group [now renamed Accenture to protect the guilty].
Still, that pay is dwarfed by salaries at large companies, keeping entrepreneurial companies at the bottom of job-hunters' lists.   And even those that do land employees are complaining...   The company recently raised wages 10% and joined a small-company training alliance.   Still, it couldn't find enough new workers to counter attrition.   Sales actually fell 40%, to $1.9M, in the year ended in April...   Worries about labor shortages surface in virtually every survey of small-business owners.   Half of 434 entrepreneurs interviewed by Coopers & Lybrand last month cited a lack of workers as their biggest obstacle.   Service companies complained about a shortage of high-tech workers, marketing and sales executives, scientists, and statisticians, while their blue-collar counterparts cried out for crafts- and trades-people...   Feeding the shortage is the mismatch between down-sized employees' expectations and the realities of small business.
Pay is the first barrier.   'A lot of the jobs we're looking at filling are under $30K...', says Ken Heller, president of Nutech Environmental Corp. in Denver and chairman of National Small Business United, a trade group in Washington...   'We tell lay-off victims who are going to work at small businesses that there will probably be less pay and more responsibility, maybe longer hours.', says Van Benthuysen...
Corporate cast-offs were among those starting 800K new businesses last year -- a 5% spike over 1994's record...   With salaries 5% to 10% higher than small manufacturers, Boeing's draw is no mystery.   'Labor shortage?', says spokesman Peter Conte.   'Not here.'   And if there was a problem with the pool, Boeing could run unskilled people through a training program whose budget is bigger than Wichita's annual revenues...
On average, small and mid-size businesses plan to spend only 2.7% of revenues on training this year, says Arthur Andersen.   It's a slight improvement from last year..."


1996 September
Department of Labor Office of the Inspector General Office of Audit Semi-Annual Report
"In our opinion, while ETA is doing all it can within its authority, the PLC and LCA programs do not protect US workers' jobs or wages and, therefore, neither program meets its legislative intent.   DoL's role amounts to little more than a paper shuffle for the PLC program and a 'rubber stamping' for LCA program applications.   As a result, annual expenditures of approximately $50M for DoL's foreign labor certification programs do little to 'add value' to the process of protecting American jobs and wages.
Specifics on each program follow.   The PLC Program Does Not Meet Its Legislative Intent of Excluding Foreign Workers When Qualified, Willing US Workers Are Available.   The PLC program is employment-based and is intended to exclude aliens who seek admission to the US, or status as an immigrant, for employment purposes when qualified, willing US workers are available for jobs.   However, we found that the program does not currently protect US workers' jobs.   Instead, the PLC program allows aliens to immigrate, based on their attachment to a specific job, and then shop their services, in competition with equally or more qualified US workers without regard to prevailing wages.   For the 24,150 aliens for whom PLC applications were certified, we determined:

In addition, we determined that, of the aliens who actually worked for the petitioning employer after adjustment to permanent resident status, 17% had left that employer within 6 months after their status was adjusted and a third (includes the 17%) had left within 1 year.   As part of the labor certification process, the employer must conduct a test of the labor market to determine that there are no qualified, willing US workers available for employment in a job for which an application has been made.   Using 2 different audit approaches, we determined the PLC labor market test was perfunctory at best."

1996 September
_Migration News_
Regulating the Immigrant Labor Market
"On 1996 July 24, a federal district court struck down DoL regulations that would have required US employers wanting to hire foreign professionals under the H-1B program to take more steps to protect US workers.   DoL in 1994 December laid out in regulations how US employers must calculate and document the 'prevailing wage' that they offer to US and H-1B workers.   The Court's ruling was narrow, only agreeing with complaining employers that DoL had not given them enough time to comment on the proposed rules.   DoL indicated that it believed that fundamental reforms were needed in the H-1B program to protect US workers.
The Gannett News Service did a series of articles in 1996 August that concluded that the US system for certifying that a US employer 'needs' foreign workers is broken...   Echoing the DoL Inspector General report issued in 1996 June, Gannett said that the $270M spent by employers on labor certification, and the $50M spent by the federal government to certify employer requests for foreign workers, is largely a going-through-the-motions exercise for US employers who are, in many cases, already employing the foreign worker while 'searching' for US workers.
According to Gannett, between 1988 and 1996, many non-professionals were admitted as permanent immigrants for US employers who claimed that they could not find US workers.   Some 40K house-keepers, nannies and domestic workers were admitted as immigrants, plus 15K cooks and chefs, 3K auto repair workers, 252 fast-food workers, 199 poultry dressers, 173 choral directors, 156 landscape laborers, 122 short-order cooks, 77 plumbers, 68 doughnut makers, 53 baker's helpers, and 38 hospital janitors.
DoL has issued new regulations that would allow the agency to check on employers of H-1B foreign workers without waiting for a complaint to be filed which asserts that the US employer was violating his promise to pay prevailing wages, but a provision in the pending immigration bill would limit unannounced DoL checks to employers where more than 25% of employees are immigrants."

1996 September
Raymond Y. Chu & Jean M. Curtin _American Institute of Physics_
Under-Employment Among Post-Docs: 1994 Membership Survey
"The 1994 Society Membership Survey was the 14th in a continuing series of studies conducted by the Education and Employment Statistics Division of the American Institute of Physics (AIP).   The Division initiated the series to monitor employment trends, as reported by a sample of the members of AIP's Member Societies.   Nearly 16,450 questionnaires were mailed out to a random sample of approximately one-fifth of the members.   Nearly 11,100 (67%) responded.
In 1994 the survey included questions which measure the levels of certain employment characteristics.   Levels lower than what are traditionally found for similar jobs might indicate under-employment.   These included: working part-time because a full-time job was unavailable; working in a temporary position because a permanent position was unavailable; working outside one's degree field because a job within one's degree field was unavailable; working where reasonable advancement opportunities were unavailable; working in a position where a doctorate level education was unnecessary; and working in a position with little professional challenge.   Since these conditions seem more prevalent at certain stages of a career, these data will be presented as a series of reports focusing on specific career stages...
Over a third of society members in the first year of their post-doctoral appointments report that they had sought but could not find permanent positions.   However, fewer than 5% of them consider themselves under-employed...
Under-employment... can include structural features of a job that can be measured objectively such as temporary and part-time situations, and positions where reasonable advancement opportunities are absent.   It can also include subjective judgments about the job such as the level of professional challenge and whether the position requires PhD-level expertise...
over a third of first-year post-doctorates were in their positions involuntarily, that is, they sought but could not find permanent positions.   Furthermore, the longer PhDs remain as post-doctorates, the likelihood that they are doing so because they cannot find a permanent position increases.   Physicists who hold post-doctoral appointments 5 or more years after their degrees are twice as likely as those in their first year to report that they are doing so involuntarily.   The self-characterization of under-employment is low among involuntary post-docs until after the third year, when under-employment sharply increases as appointments are involuntarily extended..."

"Now when the army marches abroad, the treasury will be emptied at home." --- Li Chuan during Tang Dynasty (quoted in James Dale Davidson & William Rees-Mogg 1994 _The Great Reckoning_ pg 364)


Richard C. Atkinson
The Numbers Game and Graduate Education


William A. Niskanen & Stephen Moore _Cato Institute_
Tax Cuts and the Truth About the Reagan Economic Record (with graphs)
"Real economic growth averaged 3.2% during the Reagan years versus 2.8% during the Ford-Carter years and 2.1% during the Bush-Clinton years.   Real median family income grew by $4K during the Reagan period after experiencing no growth in the pre-Reagan years; it experienced a loss of almost $1,500 in the post-Reagan years.   Interest rates, inflation, and unemployment fell faster under Reagan than they did immediately before or after his presidency.   The only economic variable that was worse in the Reagan period than in both the pre- and post-Reagan years was the savings rate, which fell rapidly in the 1980s.   The productivity rate was higher in the pre-Reagan years but much lower in the post-Reagan years...   From 1981 through 1989 the US economy produced 17M new jobs, or roughly 2M new jobs each year.   Contrary to the Clinton administration's claims of vast job gains in the 1990s, the United States has averaged only 1.3M new jobs per year in the post-Reagan years...   expanded by 1.7% per year between 1981 and 1989, but by just 1.2% per year between 1990 and 1995."


Richard W. Stevenson _NY Times_/_National Center for Policy Analysis_
Revised Data Show Lay-Off Rate Constant in 1990s



_Chemical & Engineering News_/_ACS_
1997 Employment Outlook
"The job market will continue to be tight for new Ph.D.s and post-doctoral fellows.   Recruiting is up in these categories, but since the last 3 years have been among the worst in recent memory for employment, an improved job outlook may actually only translate into a mediocre market.   Down-sizing at companies -- which nationally has wiped out hundreds of thousands of jobs, disrupted the lives of employees, and changed the face of employment -- has not spared chemists.   In a recent survey, 46% of 78 companies in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries indicated that they will be downsizing in the next 18 months."

1996 October
Steven Hipple & Jay Stewart _Monthly Labor Review_
Earnings & Benefits of Contingent & Non-Contingent Workers: Contingent workers generally earn less income and are less likely to receive health insurance and pension benefits through their employers than are non-contingent workers (pdf)
related bibliography
"For contingent workers, median weekly earnings were $285, compared with $416 for non-contingent workers.   (All the comparisons in this article use the broadest estimate of the contingent work force, and exclude the self-employed -- both incorporated and un-incorporated -- and independent contractors...)...   Among both full-time and part-time workers, however, the contingent workers' earnings are about 80% of those of non-contingent...   In construction, another industry accounting for a disproportionate share of the contingent work force [characterized by seasonal employment], contingent workers earn about the same as their non-contingent counterparts...   Only 15% of contingent workers participate in [employee-sponsored pension] plans, compared with one-half of non-contingent workers.   Furthermore, workers in contingent arrangements are similarly less likely to be offered pensions by their employer; only one-fifth [22.2%] of contingent workers are eligible for employer-provided pensions, compared with nearly three-fifths [56.5%] of non-contingent workers."

Median weekly earnings of full-time and part-time contingent & non-contingent wage and salary workers by occupation and industry 1995 February
Occupation & IndustryMedian Weekly Earnings
Managerial and professional specialty$615$709$144$246
Executive, administrative, and managerial$582$685$138$203
Professional specialty$623$728$146$266
Technical, sales, and administrative support$324$431$99$139
Technicians and related support$419$568$145$295
Professional and related services$514$522$99$169

1996 October
Anne E. Polivka _Monthly Labor Review_
Into Contingent & Alternative Employment: By Choice? (pdf)
Into contingent and alternative employment by choice (html abstract)
alternate link to pdf
"Findings: With the exception of high-skill jobs, contingent workers almost uniformly reported lower compensation and benefit rates than did non-contingent workers."

1996 October
Donna S. Rothstein _Monthly Labor Review_
Entry into and consequences of non-standard work arrangements
"Data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth suggest that recent occurrences such as the birth of a child or change in marital status can affect the likelihood of entering different types of employment arrangements.   This article explores the impact on workers aged 29 through 37 of being in a non-standard employment arrangement."

1996 October
Dale Steinreich _Ludwig von Mises Institute_
Socialist Insecurity Reform: True and False

"A private home is not a sound-stage for law enforcement theatricals.   35 F3d at 686" --- Boggs 1995-04-26 US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals #92-2556 Bills v Aseltine et alii


_Global Economic Forum_
No Let-Up in Lay-Off Craze
There seems to be no end in sight to the lay-off craze of the 1990s.   We have made this point repeatedly (see, most recently, 'Post-Election Worker Anxiety', 1996 November 7), and now the great Al Dunlap drives the point home with ultimate clarity.   After a mere 4 months at the helm of Sunbeam Corp., 'Chainsaw Al' has unleashed a head-count reduction that will ultimately hit fully 50% of the company's current staff of 12K workers.   The archivists of the American down-sizing carnage -- the consulting firm of Challenger, Gray, and Christmas -- insist that this is the largest corporate lay-off, in percentage terms, on record."

1996 November
Laura McClure _Multi-National Monitor_
Temporary Work in the New US Economy
"Business certainly likes the industry; corporate [abuse] of temporary workers is sky-rocketing.   According to the National Association of Temporary and Staffing Services (NATSS), the temporary help industry's receipts rose almost 13% last year, to a record high of $39.2G.   Temporary employment increased almost 250% between 1982 and 1993 -- 10 times faster than overall employment growth.
Temping is no longer limited to secretarial work.   About 40% of temps in 1995 were clerical workers, according to the industry, but 34% were industrial workers and 18% were classified as technical or professional.   However, most temps still do relatively low-paid work.   Most (72%) are women, under 35.   The nation's 7K temp agencies employ more than 2M people annually.
The Milwaukee-based Manpower, Inc. alone employs over 500K people a year (including workers who are only on the job a few days).   By that measure, Manpower is the nation's largest private employer -- and its chief competitor, the Troy, Michigan-based Kelly Services, comes in second...   Manpower is the leader in globalization, with a brisk business in Europe and Asia and a world market share of 15%.   According to Manpower Executive Vice President James Fromstein, over half the agency's workers and half its sales are over-seas.   Kelly Services, too, is global...
Business analysts prattle happily about how contingent workers give employers the flexibility they need to compete in a global economy.   There is a darker side to the rise in contingent employment, however.   The practice breaches the post-war era's implicit employer-employee social contract, which has provided workers with such perks as health insurance, paid vacations, pensions, a certain degree of job security, an on-going social connection with co-workers -- and an opportunity to unionize...
Temp agencies recruit, screen and deploy workers, selling their labor to employers, typically at a 40% to 60% mark-up...   Temp agencies aggressively promote themselves to employers to increase demand.   'The industry likes to say it's filling a need out there.', says Dr. Jackie Krasas Rogers, assistant professor of Labor Studies and Industrial Relations at Penn State University and an expert on the temp industry.   'But a lot of us are asking, To what extent are the agencies creating this need?'...
One survey by the Westbury, New York-based Olsten temp agency found that companies that used temps heavily were more likely to have under-gone 'staff re-engineering initiatives'.   In the same survey, 54% of companies said they were under-staffed -- and presumably ready to call dial-a-temp to the rescue...
Temps... are much cheaper than full-time employees with benefits...   firing a salaried employee can cost a company tens of thousands of dollars.   Firing a temp just takes a phone call, and creates no liability...
Use of temps may also facilitate outright racial discrimination, charges Jackie Rogers...   Asked what happens if an employer repeatedly rejects temps who are black or Latino, while accepting white applicants, [NATSS spokes-person Bruce] Steinberg replies that in that instance, 'we're not discriminating -- we're sending over the best qualified person.   They're the ones who are discriminating...   To say that we help them do that is ludicrous -- they'd be doing that regardless of us.'...
Carolina Alliance for Fair Employment (CAFE)...   'That relationship between the agency, the client and the temporary worker reorganizes work and disempowers the worker.', says Rogers...
A 1995 NATSS survey of former temps found that 64% of the ex-temps had found full-time jobs.   The temps were more likely to find a job that was unrelated to their temping than they were to have been offered a job by a temp employer, however.   In his book _Flesh Peddlers and Warm Bodies: The Temp Industry and Its Workers_, Robert E. Parker says the temp industry's hype about full-time job opportunities is 'significantly over-stated'.   In fact, he notes, the practice of moving temps into full-time jobs is 'formally and informally discouraged'.
Almost all agencies charge their clients a fee, usually $1,500, if the employer hires one of the company's temps within 90 days...   In a NATSS survey, 35% of temps said they had received [only] 1 to 5 hours of training from the temp agency in the past year; 30% said they had received over 20 hours of training [while 70% received less]."

1996 November
Paul Murphy _Organization of American Historians_
Adjunct Faculty Is a Buyer's Market: The Knowledge Industry's Brave New World
"contingent employment is most fully developed in high-tech and high-wage sectors of the new information economy, such as the software industry...   A two-tiered professorate is emerging in the United States, divided between a well-paid and tenured elite and a much larger pool of low-paid, piece-rate instructors."

1996 November
Donald Lyons _Monthly Labor Review_
Employment in R&D-intensive high-tech industries in Texas
"Petroleum and chemicals still distinguish the Texas high-technology sector from its counterparts in other States; but employment growth in Texas has shifted recently, first to civilian durable goods -- particularly personal computers—and then, more importantly, to high-tech services [bodyshopping].   In this article, we use a definition of 'research-and-development (R&D) intensive', as applied to high-tech industries, developed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the early 1990s, together with data from the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program (also known as the ES-202 program), to analyze the distinguishing features of Texas-based employment in R&D-intensive high-tech industries relative to that of California, Massachusetts, and, both implicitly and explicitly, the Nation as a whole."

1996 November
top 500 fastest super computers LinPack bench-mark (rated in giga Floating-point Operations / second) alternate link

"Throughout history, this systematic stilling of human awareness has proved an efficient method of controlling members of tribes, societies & whole nations in which little value is placed upon individuality." --- Flo Conway & Jim Siegelman 1995 _Snapping_ pg 53


Alan Greenspan _Federal Reserve Board_
Remarks at the annual dinner and lecture at the American Enterprise Institute
"I am especially pleased to accept AEI's Francis Boyer Award for 1996 and be listed with so many of my friends and former associates.   In my lecture this evening I want to give some personal perspectives on central banking and, consequently, I shall be speaking only for myself.   William Jennings Bryan reportedly mesmerized the Democratic Convention of 1896 with his memorable 'you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold'.   His utterances under-scored the profoundly divisive role of money in his time -- a divisiveness that remains apparent today.   Bryan was arguing for monetizing silver at an above-market price in order to expand the money supply...
The experiences with paper money during the Revolutionary War were decidedly inauspicious.   'Not worth a Continental' was scarcely the epithet one would wish on a medium of exchange.   This moved Alexander Hamilton, with some controversy, to press for legislation that established the soundness of the credit of the United States by assuming, and ultimately repaying, the war debts not only of the fledgling federal government, but of the states as well.
Equally controversial was the chartering of the First Bank of the United States, which, although it had few functions of a modern central bank, was nonetheless believed to be a significant threat to states rights and the Constitution itself.   Although majority controlled by private interests, the Bank engaged in actions perceived to shift power to the federal government...
Although in the 1950s and early 1960s there were short-lived bouts of inflation that caused momentary concern about sustained increases in price level, these events did little to shake the conviction of most that America's economic and financial structure would indefinitely and effectively contain inflationary forces...   That this view was profoundly wrong soon became apparent.   The 1970s saw inflation and unemployment simultaneously at relatively elevated levels for some time...   The stagflation of the 1970s required a thorough conceptual overhaul of economic thinking and policy-making..."
"Just as it is a mitzvah to say words that will be accepted, it is also a mitzvah not to say words that will not be accepted." --- Talmud (Yeva 65b), quoted by Rabbi Yissocher Frand "Careful Consideratin of Chinuch Concessions" transcribed by David Twersky


_University of Virginia_
Financial Report HighLights
"State appropriations accounted for 29% of total revenue in 1992 and only 24% in 1996.   Student tuition increased from 25% to 28% for the same period.   Over the last two years, this shift has moderated as tuition revenues have increased approximately 6% and we have seen small increases in state appropriations compared to the reductions of prior years.   Sponsored program activity is primarily the result of faculty research and other proposals to federal and non-federal sponsors.   This revenue has increased from 26% of total revenues in 1992 to 28% in 1996 and equals the portion of revenue contributed by tuition.   During the period, the University has experienced a change in the sources of sponsored programs.   Federal funding increased 22% from 1992 to 1996 while funding from private sources for sponsored programs increased 214%.   Federal sponsors still represent approximately 70% of funded research and other related activity.   Private gifts and endowment income as a percentage of total educational and general revenue, has grown slightly during the period and represents approximately 16% of total revenue."


1996-12-16 07:00PST (10:00EST) (15:00GMT)
1995 Survey of Employer Provided Training-Employee Results
"Employees who work in establishments with 50 or more workers... in the period 1995 May-October, according to a survey of employees conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor...   [only] 13.4 hours were in formal training.
  The survey also found that in the 1995 May-October period, an estimated $647 per employee was spent on wage and salary costs of training [with 35% of that, $226.45, spent on formal training]...   38% of employees received formal computer training...   On average, employees received 11.8 hours of computer training during this period.   About 5.1 hours, or 43%, of computer training was conducted formally...
For instance, employees with fewer than 2 years of tenure received an average of 65 hours of training; workers with more than 2 years but fewer than 5 years at the establishment received an average of 24 hours, and those with 5-10 years of tenure received 47 hours...
Full-time workers (35 or more hours per week) were more likely to have received formal training in the last 12 months than were part-time workers (72% versus 56%).   Similarly, during the 1995 May-October period, full-time workers received an average of 49 hours of training, versus 13 hours for part-time workers.   Full-time workers received nearly 5 times as much informal training (34 hours for full- versus 8 hours for part-time workers) and 3 times as much formal training (15 hours versus 5 hours)...
Professional and technical workers received the highest number of hours of both formal and informal training in 1995 May-October.   For formal training alone, there was a considerable gap between the number of hours of training received by professional and technical workers (22 hours) and the number received by employees in most other occupations, particularly managers (4 hours) and service workers (6 hours)...
A relatively small proportion of employees in high-turn-over establishments received formal training in the last 12 months (61% compared with 75% for medium-turn-over and 78% for low-turn-over establishments)...
Classes or work-shops conducted by company training personnel were the most common types of formal training activities in which employees participated; 76% of those receiving formal training reported this activity.   This activity was followed by 'classes or work-shops conducted by outside trainers' and 'attending lectures, conferences or seminars' at 48% and 36%, respectively.
Only 17% of those who received formal training in the last 12 months indicated that they had taken courses at educational institutions."


1996 December
"In 1996 December there were:

Electronic Recruiting Index 1997

1996 Fall
Stanley D. Nollen _Journal of Labor Research_
Negative Aspects of Temporary Employment
"As expected, temporary workers earn lower wages (one-third less) than full-time orkers and receive only a fraction of the benefits...   the long time-frame required for firms to reap benefits from intensive skills training normally preclude temps from receiving training beyond a cursory orientation with the firm and its practices."

1996 Winter
Ernest T. Smerdon _Bridge_ vol26 #1 Life-long Learning for Engineers: Riding the Whirlwind
"A decade ago, a group of experts estimated the half-life of an engineer's technical skills -- how long it would take for half of everything an engineer knew about his or her field to become obsolete.   For mechanical engineers it was 7.5 years.   For electrical engineers it was 5.   And for software engineers, it was a mere 2.5 years, less time than it takes to get an under-graduate degree...   Think about it.   In some specialties, engineers must update half of everything they know every couple of years, all the while working full-time to design products according to the best standards of the moment--which might change next month.   In even the slower-paced fields, engineers must reinvent themselves at least once a decade.   There's more.   A generation ago, an engineer could expect to carve out a niche in one well-defined area -- automotive steering systems, say, or chemical plant instrumentation -- and remain there for a lifetime.   No longer.   As technological change accelerates and product lines rise and fall in ever-diminishing life cycles, engineers find themselves switching jobs more often, to the point that those starting out today may hold half a dozen jobs over their careers, even if they manage to remain with the same company throughout.   So besides staying abreast of developments in their own specialties, engineers must be prepared to switch nimbly to a new field when the old one peters out.   And, to complicate things further, these professional demands come at a time of upheaval in the employment landscape.   Global competition has sparked a wave of down-sizings in technology firms, destroying much of the job security that engineers used to take for granted and pushing companies to contract out more and more of their design work.   Today, [bodyshops] such as Andersen Consulting [and now Accenture] are the largest recruiters of engineering graduates on some college campuses, eclipsing the big manufacturing companies in the number of hires...   at Motorola, which has established its own 'Motorola University', the company's goal is for each employee to get at least 40 hours [1 FTE week] of training a year.   But few companies do so much, particularly when it comes to education that will prepare an engineer to move into new areas.   Management may talk about the importance of 'professional enhancement' or 'continuous learning', but too often it's just talk..."

Triennial Comprehensive Report on Immigration (pdf)
"IMMACT90 placed an annual numerical ceiling of 65K on admissions of temporary 'specialty occupation' workers (aliens entering under the H-1B non-immigrant visa to fill jobs requiring a baccalaureate degree or equivalent work experience).   It also required employers seeking to hire these workers to attest to DoL that, among other things, the workers would be paid the prevailing wage, that their working conditions would not adversely affect the working conditions of other similarly employed workers, and that no strike or lockout was in progress in the relevant occupation and work-place.   IMMACT90 was debated and enacted in an economic environment of macroeconomic expansion combined with substantial industrial restructuring.   The relative decline in manufacturing, the growth in the service sector, and the decline in union representation -- all of which began before the 1980s -- continued and intensified during that decade...
Beginning with the 1990-1991 recession, the economic environment changed considerably from that in which IMMACT90 was passed.   The close of the Cold War accelerated down-sizing of the defense industry nationwide.   This down-sizing, together with a wave of corporate mergers, eliminated thousands of professional and managerial jobs.   For the first time in several decades, not only production workers but professionals and managers faced rising unemployment.   The economic restructuring that began during the 1980s continued into the 1990s and spread to additional sectors of the economy...
concern regarding immigrant-native competition for jobs and social services...   In addition, some observers have raised concerns regarding the effect of highly skilled foreign-born workers on professional labor markets...   Regrettably, the existing Federal data system is not designed to monitor the stocks of foreign workers resident in this country who are permanent resident aliens or temporary non-immigrants.   This data gap is significant and seriously constrains quantitative analysis of migratory impacts.   Despite this dearth of key information, interest in the numbers and potential impacts of various immigrant groups has continued to grow.
The passage of IMMACT90 turned the spot-light on a group whose entry had previously gone largely unchallenged: immigrant professionals.   A decade ago, it was widely believed that this nation faced an impending shortage of scientific personnel (Hudson Institute, 1987; National Research Council, 1984; National Research Council, 1988).   Leading [lobbyists'] projections helped persuade Congress to enact the 1990 legislation [Hearing before the Subcommittee on Science, Research and Technology of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives, One Hundred First Congress, 1990 July 31].
IMMACT90 altered the terms of admission for temporary professional workers under the H-1B visa covering persons in 'specialty occupations' -- defined as occupations requiring a baccalaureate degree -- and increased the number of skilled, permanent, immigrant workers admissible each year.   Immigration researchers have recently become more interested in the role of high-skilled immigrants in the U.S. economy.   This new inquiry concerns the number and characteristics of workers in affected professional labor markets and, in some instances, how those labor markets have performed since the enactment of IMMACT90...
There are also complaints that native workers expect higher wages for a given job than do their foreign-born peers.   The lower wage demand of a foreign worker is hardly surprising; however, if an implicit part of the compensation package is the highly prized but non-pecuniary benefit -- the prospect of U.S. citizenship...
One unpublished analysis, by the Software Professionals Political Action Committee (SOFTPAC), considers migrants in the software industry to adversely affect engineers -- the term being broadly defined (SOFTPAC, 1995).   SOFTPAC concluded that 30K foreign-born temporary engineering workers entered the U.S. work-force in 1993 and that 'the entire demand for engineers in the 1990-1993 period could have been met by new college graduates, and still left over 75K unemployed engineers' (p. 7).
Citing a recent decline in college engineering enrollments as evidence that new students realize job prospects in that field are eroding, SOFTPAC warns that 'the Immigration Act of 1990 may, in the end, create the very skill shortage it was designed to address.' (p. 8)...   Based on pre-IMMACT90 data (1988 October to 1990 March), GAO determined that about half of the jobs filled by non-immigrants holding H-1 visas (the precursor to the H-1B) were permanent jobs.   Of the 1,647 H-1 non-immigrants sampled within the telecommunications industry, all held permanent jobs...
between 1973 and 1993 there has been a decline in the share of S&E doctoral recipients having commitments to work coupled with a rise in the share having commitments to further study
: for example, in post-doctoral positions.   While the share of permanent resident aliens planning to remain in the United States has changed little (from 85% to 90%), there has been a substantial increase in the share of non-immigrant graduates with similar plans (from 31% to 55%)...
The American Chemical Society determined that 38% of the Ph.D. graduates in the class of 1994 had found full-time employment by the Fall following their graduation (down from 40% in 1993).   The share holding full-time jobs outside their field at that point was 2.3% (up from 1.7% in 1993).   The share of new Ph.D. chemical engineers taking post-doctoral positions increased from 8% in 1991 to 15% in 1992, to 16.7% in 1993, and to 40% in 1994.
The Computer Research Association found that the share of new Ph.D.s employed in academia had declined from 39% in 1990-1991 to 36% in 1993.   Of the 36% with academic jobs, 8% were in departments other than computer science or computer engineering...
WHD investigators have identified several situations in which employment of H-1B non-immigrants has occurred at the expense of comparable U.S. workers.   Two particularly egregious cases illustrate this point.   Syntel, Inc., a company in Troy, Michigan, providing computer personnel and services on contract to other companies, had a work-force of more than 80% H-1B immigrants, most of whom were computer analysts from India.   Syntel had entered into a contract with American International Group, Inc. (AIG), a large insurance company head-quartered in Livingston, New Jersey, to provide AIG with computer services.   Consequently, nearly 250 of AIG's U.S. workers were then laid off.   Some of these U.S. workers charged that they were required to train their H-1B non-immigrant replacements during their last few weeks of employment.   Such displacement is, incidentally, perfectly legal under current U.S. immigration law.   In its effort to cut costs, however, Syntel went still further, violating the already quite permissive terms of this law.   Syntel management had attested in writing that the company would pay its H-1B workers the prevailing wage -- a requirement established to protect U.S. workers' wages from erosion.   WHD found that Syntel, in its operations in New Jersey, had willfully paid its Indian computer programmers $34K per year rather than the prevailing rate of $41K required by law -- under-payment of nearly 20%.   As a result, Syntel agreed to pay nearly $78K in back wages to 40 H-1B employees and to take other steps to develop U.S. workers to reduce its dependence on non-immigrant workers.   To date, WHD has handled 24 such cases involving H-1B workers in computer-related occupations.   Under-payment of the 89 H-1B non-immigrant workers in these cases, most of whom worked for contractors, amount to more than $200K.
In the health-care field, Rehab One, another Michigan company, went into business providing temporary physical therapists -- in this case exclusively from Poland -- to health care facilities, most of which were in Texas.   Following WHD's investigation of a complaint against Rehab One, the company agreed to pay back wages of more than $460K to 54 therapist employees.   Although it was required to pay a prevailing wage of as much as $2,800 per month, in certain periods the company had actually paid its Polish therapists as little as $500 per month.   To date, WHD has handled 13 such cases involving employers of H-1B physical and occupational therapists, nearly all of them contractors.   Together, these companies owed more than $885K in back wages to 242 temporary foreign workers in physical and occupational therapy, evidence that these H-1B workers were being used to exert downward pressure on the prevailing wage in this occupation.
Altogether, WHD investigators have identified 87 cases in which a total of 397 H-1B workers have been under-paid a collective sum of $1.8M.
OIG's audit (U.S. DoL, 1996) tracked the outcome of cases in which DoL has issued Permanent Labor Certifications (PLC) or accepted temporary H-1B Labor Condition Applications (LCA) during FY1993.   OIG auditors had the authority to check the veracity of statements made in the initial applications, examine the actual behavior of petitioning employers and employees, and consider other issues over which DOL has little or no authority.   Their findings pertain exclusively to successful applicants: that is, those whose applications for PLCs or LCAs were approved by DoL during FY1993 and subsequently led to admission, adjustment of status, or INS approval for their H-1B job petition.   These included 24,184 permanent resident aliens and 61,250 H-1B workers.   This audit revealed several disquieting facts about the H-1B program.   During the survey period, the OIG found that 75% of the H-1B aliens studied worked for employers that did not adequately document that the wage specified on the labor condition application was the appropriate prevailing wage.   In cases where the H-1B worker's actual wage could be determined, 19% were being paid below the wage specified on the LCA.   4% of H-1B workers studied did not appear to be employees of the petitioning employer.   Some were being paid as independent contractors; others, for whom colleges or universities had petitioned, were actually on post-doctoral fellowships.   OIG determined that 'the LCA program has become a stepping stone to obtain permanent resident status not only for the 'best and brightest' specialists but also for students, relatives and friends.' (p. 3)...
In the last 6 months of 1994, the State Employment Security Agencies referred 28,682 U.S. workers to employers to be considered for the jobs they were petitioning to fill with permanent resident aliens.   Only 5 Americans were actually placed -- a 0.02% hire rate.   In sum, OIG found that the permanent labor certification program 'is being used to satisfy the needs of the aliens -- the attainment of the green card -- rather than to provide employers access to foreign labor where sufficient U.S. workers are not available.' (p. 16)."

Multi-national corporation executives' perceptions of corruption
TI Corruption Perception Index 1996 (pdf)

John Holliman _CNN_
Life of a rocket scientist: stress, budget cuts, making dreams real
"In the lobby of Davis' office building, a notice is posted warning NASA rocket scientists to look for jobs elsewhere.   'Down-sizing is a real issue.', Davis said.   Budget cuts -- mandated not by Congress, but by NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin -- are the source of the down-sizing.   In the past 5 years, NASA has cut its work-force from 24K to just over 20K employees.   Another 3K jobs will be cut by the end of the century.   So far, 1,500 rocket scientists like Danny Davis have lost their jobs."

Murali Ranganathan _Times of India_
Indian Embassy Pumped Money into US Political Race
"An Indian-American attorney, who is a veteran political fund-raiser, faces conviction after he pleaded guilty to election fraud in a US District Court May 8, in a scheme to launder at least $46K in illegal campaign contributions he received from the Indian Embassy in the course of last year's US congressional races."

Donald L. Bartlett & James B. Steele _Philadelphia Inquirer_
America: Who Stole the Dream?: Short-Cut to US Jobs
"Since the immigration laws were changed in 1990, hundreds of thousands of foreign workers have been recruited under special programs for jobs in America.   Employers said there were no qualified Americans available.   The influx is contributing to a labor glut, holding down wages...
At a time when countless Americans have lost their jobs due to imports and corporate lay-offs, U.S. companies have been recruiting tens of thousands of workers from around the world.   All with the blessing of Congress.   As a result, too many workers are chasing too few good jobs.   This, in turn, has helped force down wages in many fields, held increases to a minimum in others, and contributed to the overall decline in the standard of living for many middle-class families...
So far in the 1990s, more than 90% of such petitions have been approved...   From 1990 through 1995:

Legal immigrants are entering the United States in the 1990s at an annual rate higher than in any decade in American history...   From 1990 -- when Congress revised the nation's immigration laws -- through 1995, they arrived at a rate of 1.1M a year.   That's nearly 1 and a half times the record 820K immigrants a year set in the first decade of this century.   More immigrants arrived in the 16 years from 1980 through 1995 -- 13.1M -- than in the entire half-century before that, from 1930 to 1979 -- 11.6M.
Thus far in the 1990s, immigration is running 3 times [as many as] in the decade of the 1890s; 5 times [as many as] in the good-times decade of the 1950s, and 17 times [as many as] in the hard-times decade of the 1930s...
Between 1990 and 1993, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 146K engineering jobs disappeared, as employment fell from 1.862M to 1.716M.   Two new engineers were graduated from U.S. universities for every job that opened up.   And the unemployment rate for engineers doubled, from 2.1% to 4.1%.   Yet during this period, the United States admitted nearly 190K engineers as immigrants or temporary workers."

J. Ward Hills Down and Out in Tokyo

Thomas J. DiLorenzo _Review of Austrian Economics_ vol 9 #2 pp 43 et seq.
The Myth of Natural Monopoly (pdf)
"There is no evidence of the 'natural monopoly' story ever having been carried out -- of one producer achieving lower long-run average total costs than everyone else in the industry and thereby establishing a permanent monopoly.   As discussed below, in many of the so-called public utility industries of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, there were often literally dozens of competitors.   During the late nineteenth century, when local governments were beginning to grant franchise monopolies, the general economic understanding was that 'monopoly' was caused by government intervention, not the free market, through franchises, protectionism, and other means...
There is no evidence at all that at the outset of public utility regulation there existed any such phenomenon as a 'natural monopoly'.   As Harold Demsetz has pointed out [1989 _Efficiency, Competition, and Policy_ pg 78]: 'Six electric light companies were organized in the one year of 1887 in New York City.   Forty-five electric light enterprises had the legal right to operate in Chicago in 1907.   Prior to 1895, Duluth, MN, was served by 5 electric lighting companies, and Scranton, PA, had 4 in 1906...   During the latter part of the nineteenth century, competition was the usual situation in the gas industry in this country.   Before 1884, six competing companies were operating in New York City...   competition was common and especially persistent in the telephone industry...   Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis, among the larger cities, had at least 2 telephone services in 1905.'...   In 1880 there were three competing gas companies in Baltimore who fiercely competed with one another.   They tried to merge and operate as a monopolist in 1888, but a new competitor foiled their plans [George T. Brown 1936 _The Gas Light Company of Baltimore_]: 'Thomas Aha Edison [sic] introduced the electric light which threatened the existence of all gas companies.'   From that point on there was competition between both gas and electric companies, all of which incurred heavy fixed costs which led to economies of scale.   Nevertheless, no free-market or 'natural' monopoly ever materialized.   When monopoly did appear, it was solely because of government intervention...   This is the now-familiar approach of government officials colluding with industry executives to establish a monopoly that will gouge the consumers, and then sharing the loot with the politicians in the form of franchise fees and taxes on monopoly revenues.   This approach is especially pervasive today in the cable TV industry.   Legislative 'regulation' of gas and electric companies produced the predictable result of monopoly prices, which the public complained bitterly about.   Rather than deregulating the industry and letting competition control prices, however, public utility regulation was adopted to supposedly appease the consumers...   Not all economists were fooled by the 'natural monopoly' theory advocated by utility industry monopolists and their paid economic advisers.   In 1940 economist Horace M. Gray, an assistant dean ofthe graduate school at the University of Illinois, surveyed the history of 'the public utility concept', including the theory of 'natural' monopoly...   ['The Passing of the Public Utility Concept' _Public Utility Economics_ 1940 February pp 8 et seq.]   With regard to 'public' utilities, Gray records that 'between 1907 and 1938, the policy of state-created, state-protected monopoly became firmly established over a significant portion of the economy...   the public utility status was to be the haven of refuge for all aspiring monopolists who found it too difficult, too costly, or too precarious to secure and maintain monopoly by private action alone.'...   Gray pointed out how virtually every aspiring monopolist in the country tried to be designated a 'public utility', including the radio, real estate, milk, air transport, coal, oil, and agricultural industries, to name but a few...
In one of the first statistical studies of the effects of rate regulation in the electric utilities industry, published in 1962, George Stigler and Claire Friedland ["What Can Regulators Regulate?: The Case of Electricity" _Journal of Law and Economics_ 1962 October pp 1-16] found no significant differences in prices and profits of utilities with and without regulatory commissions from 1917 to 1932.   Early rate regulators did not benefit the consumer, but were rather 'captured' by the industry, as happened in so many other industries, from trucking to airlines to cable television."
Index of articles on

Constance Weaver _Michigan English Language Arts Framework_/_Heinemann_
On student achievement in our public schools: SAT scores revisited
"Overall, the average SAT scores were about 5% lower in 1992 than in 1960 (The Sandia Report, 1993).   The verbal scores and math scores dropped substantially through the 1970s, then rose significantly by 1985.   The average mathematics score rose again slightly by 1992, while the average verbal score first declined and then rose to within one point of the 1980 score (Stedman, 1994)...   In 1941 when the SAT test was normed, 6.68% of the group scored above 650.   The proportion of high scorers has increased 65%, despite the fact that a considerably larger proportion of test takers now come from groups that have consistently scored lower than the elite group on which the test was originally normed (Bracey, 1994).   Educational Testing Service, which develops the test items for the SAT, has admitted that the SAT today is more difficult than it was in 1975 (Berliner, 1992, citing the 1991 draft of the Sandia Report).   When students taking the SAT in 1975 are matched with a demographically similar sample from 1990, we see a slight gain in test scores from 1975 to 1990.   IOW, students who traditionally have taken the SAT -- relatively advantaged and primarily white youth -- show a significant gain in scores since 1975, despite the fact that the test is more difficult.   In summary, the SAT test scores declined about 5% between 1960 and 1992, but since 1975 the scores of the scholastically high-ranking, socio-economically privileged, and racially white students have risen slightly -- despite the fact that the SAT test is significantly more difficult than in 1975.   Furthermore, the scores of Asian students have risen to slightly top the scores of white students, the scores of African-American students have risen substantially, and the scores of Mexican-American, Puerto Rican, and American Indian students have also risen somewhat.   Overall, the 1995 test scores are the highest they've been in years."

Stephen Moore & Michael A. Byrd _Institute for Policy Innovation_
Whose Free Lunch?
direct link to the PDF
"Government receipts had almost doubled, rising from $517G in 1980 to $1.031T in 1990.   Congress out-spent Reagan in every year...   the appropriators rewrote the budget for their priorities and spent a cumulative $209G above Reagan's requests from 1982-1989...   Reagan routinely asked for money-saving entitlement reforms.   Congress ignored the reforms and increased benefits and eligibility for entitlements...   Congress spent about $80G less than Reagan requested on the military, but still spent around $390G more on domestic programs...   Bill Clinton, OTOH, is the first president in over 20 years who has out-spent Congress.   During Clinton's first 2 years, the 103rd Congress spent $54G less than Clinton requested.   The 104th Congress spent $58G less than Clinton asked."

_Association for Industrial Physics_
"After several years of industrial research cut-backs, particularly by large companies facing a new breed of competitors, industry is again recognizing the value of physics-based research.   Firms that previously cut back are now experiencing a renewed need for R&D, sometimes even greater than before cuts were made."

  "A mutex semaphore can be claimed by at most 1 thread at a time, in which case it's in the owned state.   Otherwise it's in the unowned state.   It can be used to control access to a resource shared by multiple threads (e.g. a memory location, a file, etc.). Instances of the LSharedQueue class use this class for exactly this purpose.   In addition, LMutexSemaphore supports multiple 'claims' on a semaphore by the owning thread.   If a thread is granted access to the semaphore (upon returning from Wait), it can then call Wait again without blocking.   Each call to Wait must have a matching call to Signal.   The last such call will free the semaphore for use by other threads." --- Paul Lalonde, Avi Rappaport & Steve Chernicoff 1996 _PowerPlant Threads Reference_ pg 37  


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