Economic News 1997

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updated: 2016-08-18
1997 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

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


"If I instituted drug testing at Cypress, I would get a brick through my windshield.   And I would deserve it." --- T.J. Rodgers (quoted in _Reason_)


_Baltimore MD Business Journal_
Maryland lost high-tech jobs
"Maryland lost 5% of its private-sector, high-tech jobs between 1990 and 1995, a new survey shows.   The American Electronics Association found that the state lost about 4,400 high-tech jobs over the 5-year period.   The association said the losses likely are related to the sharp defense cut-backs of the early 1990s."

"the truth is that very few people are that entrepreneurial or successful on their own -- perhaps 5%.   However self-assured, positive, & talented they may be, most job seekers need some professional help." --- Ron Krannich & Caryl Krannich 2002 _America's Top Internet Job Sites_ pg 163


Michael Burr _Government Executive_
"The Office of Personnel Management pegs the number of temporary workers in government at 102,804 as of 1995 September, the most recent year for which data is available.   More than half those temporary employees worked full-time, while about 15% were part-time and 30% worked intermittently.   Temporary workers average about 6.5% of the total federal work-force, according to OPM...   Indeed, the average number of people working as temporaries nationwide topped 2M for the first time in 1995 and daily temporary employment averaged 2.4M for the third quarter of 1996, an increase of nearly 50% since 1991, according to the National Association of Temporary and Staffing Services (NATSS) in Alexandria, VA..."


Richard F. Tax _American Engineering Association_
DS&E High Tech Recruiting Index (HTRI)
"Opportunities for engineers vary with supply (engineering degree production and immigration) and demand.   Those familiar with the Deutsch, Shea & Evans High Technology Recruitment Index (DS&E HTRI) have seen the demand fluctuate for a 30 year period.   To summarize an analysis by Robert Rivers, the DS&E curve shows only 22% of the time when there was room for new engineers without displacing older engineers.   Seventy-eight percent (78%) of that period we actually had a surplus of engineers when new engineers displaced older engineers.   We have seen our engineering associates cut out of the profession to work in stores like Home Depot, Trader Horn, etc., and be forced out of the profession forever.   We also know our young graduates are not getting the engineering jobs that they studied for so hard.   The only way to increase the opportunities for engineers is to overcome the Shortage Shouters and try to balance the supply/demand ratio."

1997 March
Christopher D. Cook _Z Magazine_
The Down-Sizing of Labor Rights & the Contingent Worker: Dangers of Body Shopping
"A ground-breaking study sponsored by the Department of Labor provides potent evidence of this disconnect -- but it may never see the light of day.   In an unpublished report scuttled by Congress, the National Commission on Employment Policy (NCEP) documented major failings in a wide array of labor statutes.   'Frequently, Federal protections afforded full-time, permanent employees do not reach the contingent worker'...   The list of exclusions encompasses nearly every aspect of U.S. labor law:


1997 March
Danielle Gordon _Chicago Reporter_
Invisible Jobless Dim Glowing Job Market Image
"In 1996, Cook County had 2,478,701 people working and an unemployment rate of 5.5%, the best since before the recession of the early 1990s, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security...   But the job-seeker’s paradise has over 210K more unemployed in Cook County than are counted in monthly government estimates, many with more education and better work experience, according to an analysis by The Chicago Reporter...   Among these 'invisible unemployed' are 92K people who have given up looking for work and 116K part-timers who would like full-time jobs...   More than 30% of the adult population is either laboring less than 20 hours a week or not working at all in 7 of 19 census areas in Chicago.   Five other city areas posted unemployment rates between 20% and 30%.   The 12 areas encompass the minority neighborhoods of the South and West sides.   Even in the 14 suburban areas, where the job market is strongest, the invisible unemployed push the jobless rate above 10% in 6 areas, the analysis shows.   The Reporter examined 33 census areas, which have an average population of 154k.   The findings match similar estimates for 1994 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor...   The annual pay-roll for the temporary work industry in Chicago grew from $372.3M in 1987 to $874.4M in 1995, according to the National Association of Temporary Staffing Services."

1997 Spring
Alan Fechter & Michael S. Teitelbaum _Issues in Science and Technology_ vol13 #3 pp28-32
A fresh approach to immigration
"Over the past 20 years, the control of immigration in the U.S. science and technology (S&T) sector has become a topic of perennial debate.   Foreign-born scientists and students make up a significant and growing share of those holding or pursuing degrees in science and engineering.   As the job market for new Ph.D.s becomes tighter and doctoral students' future prospects appear less secure, the issue of whether and how to control immigration has once again come to the fore...
Those coming from low-income countries such as [Red China] and India may be willing to work for low wages or stipends, making U.S. research activities cheaper.   By keeping wages low and by attracting a broader pool of talent, immigration produces benefits for the universities, research institutes, and [executives of] corporations that employ scientists and engineers...   immigration brings disadvantages to U.S.-born students and science and engineering professionals.   Competition with immigrants may bring down their wages and reduce their access to graduate training and job opportunities.   Low wages and limited opportunities in turn may discourage future generations of domestic talent from pursuing science and engineering careers at the doctoral level.   The committee also identified potential problems associated with language barriers and cultural orientation...
A 1995 book by David North examines the role of immigrant scientists and engineers in the labor market and concludes that the relatively slow growth in the number of Americans choosing these careers is in part the result of the poor earnings potential as compared with that of other professions such as law, medicine, and business.   A 1993 study by Derek Bok arrived at similar conclusions.
Some part of the earnings disadvantage in these careers arises from the relatively low wages or stipends earned during the 6 to 9 years it takes to acquire a doctoral degree and the additional 3 to 6 years that many new doctorates spend in post-doctoral appointments.   But even after completion of these periods of study and apprenticeship, salaries in many scientific and technical fields are lower than those received in other professions requiring extensive post-graduate training.   In the past, the parsimonious stipend levels for new Ph.D.s presented few barriers to recruitment of young people, because they reflected an implicit bargain between faculty and students.   Committed students were willing to make financial sacrifices for a few years in exchange for the promise of a meaningful post-training career in research.
Unfortunately, the current tight market in academic employment for science and engineering Ph.D.s means that, for significant numbers of young scientists and engineers, these implicit agreements are largely honored in the breach.   We are now experiencing the costs of this failure in terms of frustrated expectations and thwarted careers, and they are substantial.   Inability to honor these agreements may well discourage future generations of domestic talent from pursuing science and engineering careers at the doctorate level...
In the late 1980s, NSF's prediction of massive, looming short-falls of scientists and engineers in the 1990s was one factor motivating large increases in employment-based ceilings for skilled workers-from 54K to 140K per year-embodied in the Immigration Act of 1990.   When the forecasts of short-falls proved dramatically wrong and the job market for doctoral scientists and engineers began to turn sour, concern shifted from future short-fall to current glut...
In this regard, it is striking to note the chorus of concern now being expressed by the American Medical Association, American Association of Medical Colleges, Association of Academic Health Centers, and other leading medical organizations about what they perceive to be the growing over-supply of physicians.   They attribute this to the large number of foreign medical school graduates being trained as residents in U.S. hospitals and call for reduction of the generous funding for such training positions that currently flows from federal health care programs such as Medicare...
For example, we cannot be certain that the current weakness in the market for science and engineering doctorates represents a long-term over-supply.   Although there is general agreement that we are producing more doctorates than required to meet the current demand for tenure-track faculty, particularly those engaged in academic research, this oversupply may turn out to be offset by demands in other segments of this market, such as secondary school instruction; industrial research; or professions such as law, consulting, or banking.   OTOH, the reluctance of academic employers to make the commitments implied by tenure-track appointments may represent a long-term structural shift rather than a response to short-term financial uncertainties...
In the absence of a mechanism specifically designed to regulate science and engineering immigration, there is no easy way to balance the objectives of enhancing the nation's science and engineering enterprise and protecting the legitimate interests of U.S.-born scientists and engineers."

John Jordan _Minority Career Net_
Can you survive a re-organization?
"You sit idly by and watch the hatchet fall on co-workers that you felt were so secure in their positions, that their middle name was 'untouchable'.   Quickly, the buddy system disappears because these are drastic times and everybody must now look out only for themselves.   You become a walking medicine cabinet, filling your system with anti-acids and prozac while waiting for the hatchet to strike again.   Then to sweeten the pot, a rumor is started that most of the organization's internal, non-money-making functions will be 'out-sourced'.   If this doesn't sound like your company, stay tuned. According to the Chicago-based Challenger Employment Report, in 1996 alone, more than 40K employees will be affected by lay-offs following mergers, re-organizations and acquisitions..."

"Median earnings for writers & editors come in under $40K." --- Jeff Adams & Jim Blau 2002 _Job Surfing: Media & Entertainment_ pg 12


Charles C. Masten _Department of Labor Office of Inspector General_
DoL OIG testimony (pdf)
"An important issue facing the DoL is the Department's role in the foreign labor certification process under 2 of its programs: the employment-based permanent program and the temporary H-1B Labor Condition Application immigration program.   These programs, which cost the Government some $50M in appropriated funds, were found in an OIG audit to be ineffective in meeting their legislative intent of protecting U.S. workers' jobs or wages.   With respect to the permanent program, we projected that virtually all aliens who were certified during our audit period (Fiscal Year 1993) and who eventually obtained permanent resident status, were in the U.S. at the time the employer filed the application, of which three quarters were already working for the petitioning employer.   We also found that, despite a costly and time-consuming recruitment process, the required test of the labor market did not result in the hiring of U.S. workers over foreign labor.
  The H-1B program for temporary employment, which is intended to provide U.S. businesses with timely access to 'the best and the brightest', does not always supply highly skilled, unique individuals.   Instead, we concluded 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.   Moreover, while the only protection the H-1B program provides the U.S. worker is that the employer is required to pay the prevailing wage (to protect the erosion of wages of U.S. workers), we found this was not the case.   We projected that over three quarters of the H-1B employers could not document that the wage specified in their Labor Condition Application was the wage actually paid.   Even where the employer adequately documented the actual wage paid, we found that 19% of the aliens were paid less than the wage the employer specified on the Labor Condition Application would be paid to the alien.
  Overall, we concluded that while ETA was doing all it could within its authority, the permanent program was little more than a paper exercise and that the H-1B program amounted to a rubber stamp of employers' applications.   We recommended these 2 DoL programs be eliminated as they currently exist and, if a decision is made to continue such programs, replaced with ones that truly protect American workers' jobs and wages.   We also recommended that, if DoL has a continuing role in the redesigned program, the costs of DoL's activities be fully recovered by charging user fees to the employers who benefit from the program."





Michael J. Mandel _Business Week_
It's All Hanging on High Tech Now
"The spectacular stock boom of the last 2 years has been driven by low interest rates plus rising profits in 2 key sectors: high tech and financial services.   From the end of 1994 to the end of 1996, these 2 sectors accounted for almost three-quarters of all the profit gains among the stocks in the S&P 500 index (table).   Now the Federal Reserve has chopped off 2 of the bull market's 3 main supports.   It has boosted interest rates to prevent inflation and slow the economy.   By so doing, it has made stocks overall a less attractive investment, while at the same time undermining the financial-services sector...   That leaves computer, software, networking, and other high-tech stocks as the last support for the bull market.   The early signs from that sector are not good, either: The Morgan Stanley High-Tech index has plummeted by 18% since mid-January, and the latest earnings reports are decidedly down-beat.   Unless high tech can recover--as it still well might -- the bull market is not likely to last much longer...   The slow-down is spreading beyond networking.   Computer makers Silicon Graphics Inc. and Digital Equipment Corp. have taken a pounding...   If the high-tech sector does falter, however, there won't be much left to keep the economy growing..."










_Economic Policy Foundation_
Announced Lay-Offs Rise, But Jobs Are Plentiful, and "Life-Time Employment" is Unchanged from the 1970s





Michael Liedtke _Contra Costa CA Times_
Bank of India [formerly Bank of America] Tech Workers Fear Jobs Heading Off to India

1997 April
_International Labour Review_
Part-time work: Solution or trap?
"In the second week of April the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its report on non-farm employment, showing a seasonally adjusted increase of 175K jobs in March, and a decline in the overall unemployment rate to 5.2%.   The BLS data also showed the strongest year-to-year change in average hourly earnings since mid-1990.   During the same week, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an out-placement firm that tracks job-cuts, reported that employers announced plans to cut more than 50K jobs; 'the largest number of lay-offs planned since 1996 January'...   In 1995-96, roughly one-half of the AMA [American Management Association] surveyed firms reported eliminating jobs.   But because many of these firms are simultaneously hiring, only 27% of the firms saw a decline in their U.S. employment.   And within these firms the actual decline in employment was less than 1%."

1997 April
Philip Rones, Randy E. Ilg & Jennifer M. Gardner 1997 April _Monthly Labor Review_
Trends in hours of work since the mid-1970s (pdf)
"Allocated across the population of women aged 16 and over, each individual worked a third more hours per year in 1993 than in 1976.   Looking at the more homogeneous (in terms of work schedules) group of 25- to 54-year-olds has two advantages: it avoids the need to age-adjust the data, & it eliminates the younger & older workers -- the 2 groups with particularly low annual hours -- from the calculation.   For women in this age group, average hours per year rose 45% over the 1976 - 1993 period, from 888 to 1,290.   For men in this group, by contrast, the average was virtually unchanged, at just over 1,900 hours...   A noteworthy difference between the 1970s & the 1990s is the increase in the share of persons who are working very long work-weeks -- that is, those who are exceeding the 'standard' of 40 hours by more than a full 8-hour day.   This increase is pervasive across occupations, & the long workweek itself seems to be associated with high earnings & certain types of occupations.   More dramatic has been the increase in the work year, a measure more commonly used in inter-country comparison.   For example, on an annual basis, Americans tend to work more during the year than most Europeans, but less than the Japanese.   American women's increasing likelihood of working at all, and, when they do, to work year round, also has had a notable effect on the number of hours that they work during the course of the year.   In contrast, men's work hours have changed little, on net, since the mid-1970s."

1997 May
_IEEE Fort Worth_
Job Cut Announcements Hit 15-Month High
"Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which tracks job cuts nationwide, says 50,182 workers lost their jobs in March, up 33.9% from last year."

1997 May
Clifford Adelman
Leading, Concurrent, or Lagging: the Knowledge Content of Computer Science in Higher Education and the Labor Market

_Locate Ancestors_
Lonnie Causseaux b: 1926-05-05 d: 1997-05-18 murdered while wearing his leg braces and sitting on his porch with his crutches leaning against the wall behind and next to him by one Gibson, member of Tallahassee Police Dept. who over-reacted to Causseaux having ordered a peeping-tom/code-nazi named PowderMiller away from his property

1997 Spring
Robert Higgs _Independent Review_
Regime Uncertainty: Why the Great Depression Lasted So Long and Why Prosperity Resumed after the War (pdf)

"Art is limitation: the essence of every picture is the frame." --- G.K. Chesterton


Vin Suprynowicz _The Libertarian Enterprise_
60 Years of NRA Gun Control

1997 June
Morton Schnabel _Dept. of Commerce, Economics & Statistics Admin., Office of Policy Dev._
International Competitiveness
full report (pdf)
"From 1970 through 1991, the United States led other OECD countries in overall labor productivity, a key measure of national competitiveness.   During this period, labor productivity in these countries converged, both towards the mean OECD labor productivity and the U.S. level of labor productivity.   This suggests living standards among the OECD countries are becoming more alike...   In 1991, the United States was among the labor productivity leaders in almost all manufacturing industries.   It was, however, no longer the unequivocal labor productivity leader in these industries.   Other countries had overtaken US labor productivity in 3 of the 9 industries and retained the lead in three other industries."

1997 June
William Luker jr & Donald Lyons _Monthly Labor Review_
Employment shifts in high-technology industries, 1988-1996
"From 1988 to 1996, employment in high-technology industries shifted more toward services.   Since 1988, growth in high-tech services [bodyshopping] accounted for all of the net increase in employment in the research-and-development-intensive sector.   This article uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Employment Statistics program to survey the shifting levels and composition of employment in the industries.   The data reveal three noteworthy developments: employment in the industries grew slowly; employment is shifting toward services [bodyshopping], as defense-dependent manufacturing industries declines; and demand for high-tech workers engaged in R&D is shifting toward production of services [bodyshopping] rather than of goods...   at the beginning of 1996, employment in R&D-intensive high-technology industries was an appreciably smaller share of total non-farm employment than at the beginning of 1988...   secular decline in high-wage production jobs in heavily unionized sectors of U.S. manufacturing would be unlikely to reverse itself.   At the confluence of revolutions in microelectronics, genetics, aeronautics, physics, and materials sciences, high technology was envisioned as a potential engine for creating employment on a scale that could more than make up for the permanent loss of high-wage production jobs.   It is no news to close observers that this scenario has not materialized...   R&D-intensive manufacturing, encompassing 23 of the 28 three-digit industries in our analysis, lost almost 600K jobs, more than 10% of the 5.8M workers employed in the sector as of 1988 January.   91% of this job loss, amounting to 547K employees, occurred in durable goods manufacturingfacturing, in which the decline of 12% from 1988 January total employment was more than twice that of durable goods manufacturing as a whole (–5.3%).   Employment in R&D-intensive non-durable goods manufacturing also fell, but at a rate (–4.4%) much closer to that of all non-durable goods industries (–3.5%)...   computer and office equipment (SIC 357), an industry that many regard as having begun the 'high-tech revolution' of the 1970s and 1980s, experienced the largest net employment decline (-97,700) among the civilian R&D-intensive industries...   The services [bodyshopping] share of all R&D-intensive high-technology employment rose by almost 11 percentage points, from 28.0% to 38.9%, between 1988 and 1996; manufacturing's share fell from about 70% to 60%.   Moreover, the shift to services [bodyshopping] is not merely an artifact of declining employment in defense-related high-tech manufacturing: even if defense-related employment levels had remained unchanged, the stagnation of employment in civilian high-tech manufacturing would have meant that manufacturing's share of all employment in R&D-intensive industries would still have fallen, from 70% to 66%...   In order to attract and keep R&D talent, then, firms must cultivate well-articulated internal labor markets for scientists, engineers, and other classes of skilled employees, provide high wages and benefits, and emphasize participation in state-of-the-art projects.   As Lia Pacelli, Fabio Rapiti, and Ricardo Revelli note, 'whenever the value of a job-worker match is high, firms will take actions to reduce the risks that the match breaks up'.   By helping retain workers whose skills are hard to come by, these measures keep training costs lower and allow internal investments in human capital to pay off...   the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that, between 1994 and 2005, annual output in the computer industry will rise by 7.3%.   This is the fastest rate of output growth of the detailed industries for which the Bureau prepares projections.   Employment levels, OTOH, will fall by an annual rate of 2.6%...   As we have said, these strategies include automation, exporting jobs [off-shoring], and out-sourcing, all of which reduce employment and re-define the skilled production worker as a worker whose social skills and natural dexterity matter more than specialized training...   For many of these firms, software -- and, by implication, the high-tech workers in R&D-intensive industries who design and integrate the software into production systems -- is now more important in manufacturing than is hardware...   Although this stage in the evolving relationship between robots and human workers may translate into greater demand for computer- and statistically-literate production workers, those workers may not be required to possess specialized technical skills."

1997 June
top 500 fastest super computers LinPack bench-mark (rated in giga Floating-point Operations / second)

"In 1792, there was [enacted] a death penalty for counterfeiting.   I think it should be applied to the Federal Reserve." --- Ron Paul


15,091 lay-offs were announced in June
"The number of announced lay-offs dropped 28% in June, compared with May, and was the lowest monthly work-force reduction total since 1993 May, says a report by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.   Employers announced 15,091 job cuts in June, 28% fewer than May's total and 62% less than in 1996 June.   Not since 1993 May, when employers announced 14,086 job cuts has the number of lay-offs hit this low a mark... (Daily Labor Report, page A-5)."


Robert A. Rivers _AEA Manpower Report_
AEA Manpower Statement Refutes ITAA Shortage Report
"The statement of massive IT job vacancies and present and future shortages is not supported by any data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.   The DoL data does show huge increases in the supply to meet the industry expansion requirements.   From 1990 to 1996, the number of employed computer programmers has declined.   You will not find this information in any shortage report.   A shortage of 10% may be met with only 4 hours of over-time per week.   If there were a shortage of Programmers, Computer Scientists and System Analysts, there would be a significant increase in median wages for 1996 over 1995.   Computer programmers were on average receiving an increase in pay of only $25.00 per week per year and reaching a level of approximately $775.00 per week."


Sanjoy Banerjee _Pacific News_
From a Life Expectancy of 28 to 60 -- Measuring India's Advances Over 50 Years of Independence
Related link: "In India life expectancy has gone up from 20 years in the beginning of the 20th century to 62 years today." --- HelpAge India
The Indian Aging Scenario
"On August 15th, India will celebrate its fiftieth year of independence...   At the time India gained independence in 1947, life expectancy was 28 years and the literacy rate was at 14%.   Since then, life expectancy has more than doubled and literacy has more than quadrupled.   Over these years, economic growth has gradually accelerated, with per capita income rising at 1.5% annually until 1975, at 3% until 1993, and at 5% in the last 3 years...   Corruption is severe in India, but probably no more so than in the booming economies of [Red China] or Indonesia.   And of late, Indian politicians and bureaucrats, once above the law, have begun to encounter an element of risk in corruption.   The political instability of recent years has opened the way for non-political institutions, such as the courts, national police forces, and the election commission, to impose some accountability on politicians."

"That great garden spider in the node of the world web -- all this may occupy and worry the moralist, the artist, and the pious man..." --- Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche 1874 _The Advantage & Disadvantage of History for Life_


Norm Matloff _San Jose Mercury News_
An employers' market
"it is very much an employers' market.   Each year the computer science department at the University of California-Davis receives more than 400 applications for faculty openings...   the Computer Research Association reports that national enrollment was up 40% last year...   M$ has stated that it only hires 2% of its applicants for software positions, hardly indicative of a shortage.   While it is true that there are many unfilled positions in the industry, this is due not to a shortage of programmers but rather to employer's over-specification of job requirements.   For instance though new graduates who know the Java programming language are in high demand, most employers would not even interview a mid-career programmer without Java experience, even though the language can be learned quickly.   Industry officials have admitted a tendency to shun mid-career people in favor of hiring new graduates.   Given this, what incentive is there for a young university student interested in long-term career prospects to major in engineering or computer science?"


Geoff Davis
Mathematicians and the Market
"Between 1990 and 1995, the number of full-time non-tenure-eligible faculty in traditional math departments (Groups I-III) increased by 37%.   At the same time the number of tenure-track faculty fell by 27%.   Temporary faculty now comprise 56% of all non-tenured faculty in traditional math departments."


Gary McWilliams _Business Week_
Austin, TX: A Thriving Clone of the Valley
"The rise of Austin, TX, as a high-tech center has been nothing short of breath-taking.   Since the first chipmaker arrived in 1974, lured by low-cost land, low wages, and a big pool of university grads, the economy of the state's capital city has been on a high-tech-fed boom...   An estimated 1,200 software companies, up from 457 in 1991, now call the area home...   For employers, the area's low cost-of-living means lower salaries than in other tech hot-spots.   Programmers who would command $60K a year in San Francisco cost about $40K in Austin, say local executives...   With the region's population growing by 23K new-comers a year, the city's cost of living is edging up.   Austin recently became the only one of Texas' major cities with a cost-of-living index above the national average.   (Austin's 101.3, though, is still way below Boston's 145 and New York's 227.)...   Wages last year grew by an average 4.5% in Austin, vs. the nation's 3.7%.   Three years ago, Austin's increase trailed the national average."

1997 August
Angela Clinton _Monthly Labor Review_
Flexible labor, i.e. bodyshopping: Restructuring the American work-force
"Trends in employment, occupations, output, and input provide evidence that firms have increased their purchases of services relative to directly hiring labor.   Such purchases include out-sourcing or contracting out of various functions, utilizing temporary workers, or leasing an entire work force to meet all labor needs. &nbnsp; This article focuses on business services and engineering and management services -- 2 industry groups that provide flexible labor services and have been adding employees more rapidly than have the overall U.S. non-farm economy."

1997 August
_Federation for American Immigration Reform_/_American Patrol_
"anchor babies": is citizenship a birth-right? interpreting the 14th amendment

"I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious." --- Thomas Jefferson 1824


Camille Luckenbaugh & Norita Rehrig _NACE_
Starting Salaries for New Grads
Economics & Finance$31,333
Computer Science$37,215
Computer Engineering$40,093
EE Engineering$39,546



_Jacksonville FL Times-Union_
TRADE: Fast-track authority
"The average U.S. tariff is 3%.   By contrast, it is 10% in Chile, Argentina and Brazil, and 25% to 30% in Thailand, India and Turkey."









Gregg Stein _Houston Chronicle_/_AP_
Unbalanced pressure for profits keeps fear of lay-offs in the air


1997-09-23 07:28PST (10:28EST) (15:28GMT)
Lower profits fuel lay-offs
"The past 3 months have seen a surge of 35,300 lay-offs fueled by companies with lower earnings.   And with a wave of mergers expected this fall, employees should be prepared to seek new jobs, said John Challenger, executive vice president at Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc."



Rob Sanchez _Job Destruction News-Letter_
Californians for Population Stabilization vs. Hewlett-Packard and Tata
"Based in India, Tata [subsidiary TCS] employs approximately 4K computer engineers who work in India and around the world.   The company has 35 offices [*280] worldwide, 10 of which are in the United States.   Tata provides extensive training to its newly recruited computer engineers which lasts for 12 to 18 months, depending on the individual trainee.   Commencing in 1989 October, Tata entered into contracts to supply software engineers, systems analysts, and computer programmers to assist on projects of and/or design and develop software for companies in California.   These included H-P, Oracle Corporation, IBM and American President Lines...   If Tata is awarded a California contract, it identifies possible candidates to fill the project from its employees.   Some of the work [**625] done by Tata computer engineers is done in California at the client's site.   Tata refers to these overseas assignments as 'deputations'.   The United States deputations are for terms of up to 2 years.   One of Tata's clients, H-P, reserved the right to approve any consultant proposed by Tata.   Tata pays its deputed workers both salary and expenses while they work in California, in addition to the salary and benefits the company [***5] continues to provide to them in India.   The current Indian salary component paid to workers on deputation ranges up to 170K rupees per year, or $5,600 per year at current exchange rates.   The difference between the remuneration received by Tata employees while in India versus the United States is that Tata pays workers on deputation a cash housing and living allowance to make up for the higher cost of living in the United States...   Tata computer engineers currently on deputation in California receive total gross compensation of between $28,500 and $38,500...   Tata customarily charges its clients $5K per month, or $60K per year, for each employee.   These same clients pay on the average up to $110K per year, inclusive of salary and benefits, for comparable non-Tata programmers."


Richard E. Morrison _NSF_
Services Sector S&E Employment Rose Then Fell Sharply as Engineering & Technician Jobs Were Cut
"Employment of scientists, engineers, and technicians in the services sector[1] increased from 1988-1991, and then dropped sharply from 1991-1994.[2]   By 1994 (the last year for which data are available), the number of employed scientists and engineers in services industries (185,200) was 8% below the 1988 level of 202K and 15% below the 1991 level of 219K (table 1).   Although the sector accounted for only 4% of the scientists, 10% of the engineers, and 26% of the technicians employed in the United States, analysts look to services sector employment as a leading indicator of the health of the S&E labor market as the economy shifts inexorably from a manufacturing toward a services-oriented base.   Engineering employment was severely affected by the downturn, as the 1994 total of 129,800 engineers employed in the services sector represented a drop of 11% from 1988 and 16% from 1991...   total 1994 employment of 55,400 scientists in the services sector was virtually unchanged from the 1988 figure of 55,500.   However, employment of scientists had jumped to 63,900 (an increase of 15%) between 1988 and 1991 before falling back to the earlier level in 1994."

"The government will make use of these powers only in so far as they are essential for carrying out vitally necessary measures...   The number of cases in which an internal necessity exists for having recourse to such a law is a limited one." --- Adolph Hitler 1933 March


1997-10-01 15:15PDT (18:15EDT) (22:15GMT)
Courtney Macavinta _CNET_/_ZD Net_
Immigration plan could cut tech guest-workers
"A report released yesterday to Congress by the bipartisan U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform called for employment-based legal immigration to be cut 30%, allowing 100K admissions per year, including workers' family members."


Kathleen O'Toole _Stanford U_
Competitive electricity markets: Modelers try to anticipate problem spots

1997 October
Robert J. Laubacher & Thomas W. Malone _MIT Sloan School of Management_
Flexible Work Arrangements, a.k.a. BodyShopping, and 21st Century Workers' Guilds
"The job has [and, more importantly, employees have] taken a beating in recent years -- it appears to have been one of the major casualties of the corporate restructuring which swept through the U.S. economy in the early 1990s.   Most Americans know someone whose position has been down-sized or out-sourced, and a series of high-profile articles in prominent publications have suggested that good jobs -- those offering health insurance and a pension, along with a prospect for advancement -- are increasingly relics of the past.   This attention has been spurred by the rapid increase in the use of temporary employees -- the number of positions filled by temporary agencies more than doubled during the first half of the 1990s -- and by many highly-visible instances of corporate down-sizing and out-sourcing."

"Justice is that virtue that assigns to every man his due." --- Saint Augustine


_Chemical & Engineering News_/_ACS_
1998 Employment Outlook
"recruiters are back on campuses in force. In fact, on some campuses, companies that didn't make an appointment several months ago are being wait-listed by universities and colleges that are already booked solid."


Miranda Ewell _San Jose Mercury News_
Industry to Press for More Skilled Workers


Rajiv Chandrasekaran _Washington Post_ pg A1
A Seller's Market for Tech Workers: Many apply, few are interviewed, hardly any are hired
"John Otroba of American Management Systems, who... has no shortage of incoming resumes.   When he logs onto his office computer every day, he has at least 50 in his electronic mail-box...   But only about 1 in 12 resumes leads him to pick up the telephone to call the job seeker.   Some don't pass that screening step.   Of those who come in for an interview, fewer than a quarter are offered jobs."

1997 November
top 500 fastest super computers LinPack bench-mark (rated in giga Floating-point Operations / second)

"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered... My life is my own." --- The Prisoner



Clyde Wayne Crews _Competitive Enterprise Institute_
Electric Utility Reform: The Free Market Alternative
"reformers should simply revoke all laws against taking or providing competitive electric service at the local level, thus ending the automatic presumption that every new mall, hospital, residential area and commercial strip is to be served by the local distribution utility wires.   That done, the threat of entry will then bring rates down and protect the healthy development of markets, as will be described.   The artificiality of both the exclusive franchise and the natural monopoly concept imply the proper paradigm for reform.   These twin pillars of cardboard that bolster utility regulation should simply be respected no further...   Limited parallel competition already exists in some areas.   For example, unknown to most policy-makers, Lubbock, TX and 22 other towns have head-to-head competition in production and distribution.   Often, such 'curiosities' consist of competing IOUs and municipal utilities.   Parallel sets of wires run up and down the street and consumers pay less...   Capstone Turbine Corp. of California, for example, produces microturbines smaller than an office desk, weighing only 165 pounds, that run quietly at 55% efficiency (compared to 35% efficiency for coal-fired plants), thanks to high-pressure air bearings that dispense with the pumps and filters required in lubricated systems.15 Sporting only a single moving part, innovations like these promise far more than mere generation strandings in the future if they pan out.   A 24KW microturbine now available can power a 7-Eleven or central air conditioning system of a large house, and they can be hooked together to provide up to 500 kW of power.   If mass production successfully brings microturbine costs down to $500 per kilowatt and under, that would put a 24KW machine at $12K, an amount that could even be tacked onto high-end home mortgages.   Another firm in the microturbine business is Allison Engine, owned by Rolls Royce. Allison produces micro power plants ranging from 50KW to 250KW."



Randy Tucker of the _Omaha World-Herald_
(reprinted in the 1997-12-07 "Tech Wars: High-tech Companies Are Aggressively Competing for Qualified Workers" _Tallahassee Democrat Employment Weekly_ pg 1)
"Some studies have placed the number of job openings for high-tech companies nationwide at about 190K full-time jobs."



_College Press Service_
Job Market Best in Decade, Survey Finds"
(reprinted in 1997-12-08 _FSView_ pp 3-4)
"'This is the best job market in recent years.', Bradley Richardson, author of _JobSmarts: 50 Top Careers_, said.   'Companies are having a hard time finding quality employees, so they're offering more things, like benefits or other perks.'...   Computer science majors will earn an average of $38,475 annually, while computer engineers will pull down an average starting rate of $39,593...   statistics from the US Dept of Education show the number of graduates earning computer science degrees has dropped 43% from 1986.   At the same time, Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 70% growth in computer & data processing jobs by 2005."


Cynthia Kroll
A Global ReShaping of the Computer Industry
"Distribution of Employment within the Computer Cluster California 1994... 20% Pre-Packaged [a.k.a. commercial off-the-shelf, shrink-wrap] Software...
  Despite the large export base of the computer industry, its imports are now greater than its exports...   While virtually all hardware firms have a portion of production at over-seas sites, software firms show more variation in production approaches.   Small, rapidly growing software firms rely primarily on their California labor force, & are the least likely to have outside production sites...   More established software firms with broader market areas are more likely to do some production over-seas...
  Under very conservative assumptions about the role of foreign imports in computer price reductions & about the impacts of price reductions on sales [assuming the off-shoring has no impact on ability of Americans to buy], we estimate the number of jobs added to the computer software industry as a result of this process comes close to replacing all of the jobs lost in computer manufacturing in California since the sector's 1987 peak...   up to 50K additional jobs... may have been added to the software industry as a result of the foreign import contribution to the expansion of computer sales."


_AAAS_/_Commission on Professionals in Science & Technology_
Salary & Employment Survey for People with Recent Doctorates in Science and Technology
Doctorates in Computer Science were taking an average of nearly 5 months to find work.


Dan Greising _Business Week_
Despite a robust economy, plenty of companies plan to down-size
"Global competition has made it impossible for companies to raise prices and forced some to cut them.   A strong U.S. dollar only makes the situation more difficult.   So if earnings are to be maintained and improved, corporations have one alternative: cut costs.   And that usually means putting employees out of work -- albeit in an extremely healthy job market...
  Companies are already falling short of earnings estimates -- many citing the Asian melt-down and the effect of the strong dollar on over-seas sales and profits.   Overall, 1998 profits are expected to grow 5% at best -- half of the 1997 growth rate and one-third of 1996 earnings growth."

_abc News_/_AP_ Consumers Remain UpBeat (with graph)


_abc News_/_AP_ Leading Indicators Edge Up

1997 December
Casey B. Mulligan _NBER_
Pecuniary Incentives to Work in the USA during WW2

Gary S. Becker _Hoover Digest_
Job Woes in Europe?   Don't Blame High Tech (Reprinted from _Business Week_ 1997-07-07)
"In the face of high, chronic unemployment, European politicians are blaming high technology for stealing jobs.   Becker argues that, instead, they should blame the big governments they built...   Despite the fear-mongers' warnings, there is no evidence that recent technological advances have much to do with the high unemployment rates found throughout Europe.
  No, the employment problems of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and elsewhere in Europe are due more to conventional interventions in labor markets that discourage companies from hiring workers.   These include high social security and other taxes on labor, generous subsidies to persons without jobs that discourage them from looking for work, and onerous regulations that raise the difficulty and cost of hiring and firing workers...
  Many regulations also discourage young entrepreneurs from starting the new enterprises that have been so important to job creation in the United States.   In Italy, it takes 3 to 5 years to get all the approvals for a new business, unless officials are bribed to speed up the process."

_Employment Policy Foundation_
Displaced Workers
"When Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a firm that tracks corporate job cuts, recently announced that first quarter lay-offs in 1997 topped 134K workers, the news quickly made head-lines.   Similarly, new data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) shows that 4.2M workers were displaced between 1993 January and 1995 December from jobs that they had held for at least 3 years, as a result of company closure, insufficient work, or abolitions of positions or shifts...
  74% of displaced workers studied in the CPS were re-employed when surveyed in 1996 February; almost half found new jobs within 5 weeks.   The re-employment rate was highest for workers in the 25-54 age group at 79%.   Older workers in the 55-64 and 65 and over age groups experienced re-employment rates of 52% and 32% respectively."

_American Institute of Physics_
Employment & Industry (graph)

Richard M. Reis
Tomorrow's Professor

Constantine Potamianos _Georgetown Immigration Law Journal_ vol11 pp 789 et seq.
The Temporary Admission of Skilled Workers to the United States under the H-1B Program: Economic boom or Domestic Work Force Scourge?

Tim Jackson
_Inside Intel_ (book)

  "While it used to be the exception for anyone to live beyond 80 years old, we now have 3.5M people aged 85 & older -- & will add another million by the end of the century.   In fact, people more than 85 years of age are the most rapidly growing segment of our population.   More than 30K people in the US are 100 years old & over." --- Royda Crose 1997 _Why Women Live Longer than Men_ pg 5  

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