Thursday, May 21, 2015

Debunked: Shortage in Math and Computer Science

Subjects: H-1B visa, STEM shortage myth, Bachelors Degree, STEM shortage debunked, Math and Computer Science degrees

I am surprised that I had not thought of approaching the STEM shortage myth in this manner before.  Math and Computer Science constitutes 50% of all STEM occupations and roughly 60% of all new H-1B visas are computer related. 

The H-1B visa program began in 1992; therefore, we can presume that Math and Computer Science occupations were primarily staffed with citizens and permanent residents in 1992.

Employment level: Math and Computer Science (1992) = 1,830,800

 NCSES ranked colleges conferred 2,317,505 Math and Computer Science degrees and certificates from 1992 to 2013, to citizens and permanent residents as their highest degree.  Using 1992 employment levels as our baseline, we add the new degrees to the 1992 employment levels to find the size of our native Math and Computer Science workforce.

Employment level: Math and Computer Science (1992) = 1,830,800
*Math-Comp Sci (highest degree conferred (1992-2013)) = 2,317,505

Total Math-Comp Sci Workforce = 4,148,305 

*College awards: Citizens and permanent residents only

Next, we look at the employment level for Math and Computer Science occupations in 2013 and subtract the workforce number from above to determine if there is a shortage.

Employment level: Math and Computer Science (2013) = 3,696,180
Total Math-Comp Sci Workforce = 4,148,305

Total Math-Comp Sci Workforce Surplus = 452,125 (12.23%)

So where is this shortage? The IT shortage that employers, trade associations and immigration attorneys write incessantly about?  (The target has been expanded to STEM occupations, but that topic is for another paper.)

This surplus is 9,042 formally trained professionals for every state in the nation, or a national surplus of 12.23%.  For retirement to be a significant factor, starting now, a significant portion of those employed in Math and Computer Science occupations would have had to have been 42 years old in 1992. Highly unlikely since IBM's MS-DOS was not introduced until August of 1981.

We also know from the Census Bureau, that a bachelors degree is not mandatory in computer science, 28% of those employed in computer occupations had less that a bachelors degree in 2011.  Aptitude can be proven with coursework, individual initiative, or both.

High School or less
Computer support specialists = 49,200

Computer occupations, all other = 31,800
Software developers = 22,400
Computer programmers = 21,800
Computer systems analysts = 20,800
Computer and information systems managers = 20,100

Some College or Associate’s Degree 
Computer support specialists = 210,700
Computer occupations, all other = 125,100
Computer and information systems managers = 116,500
Software developers = 114,700
Computer systems analysts = 98,700
Computer programmers = 94,300
Network and computer systems administrators = 87,200

Computer occupations less than bachelors degree (2011) = 1,013,300 (28.04%)
Computer occupations employment 2011 = 3,614,046

(In 2011, Computer occupations accounted for 50% of all STEM occupations.)

Source: Liana Christin Landivar, 2013, “The Relationship Between Science and Engineering Education and Employment in STEM Occupations,” American Community Survey Reports, ACS-23, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC.

Detailed by field of degree, the Census Bureau report that only 49% of those with Computers, mathematics, statistics degrees are working in STEM fields.  Under the twisted logic of trade-association, open-borders propaganda, they would have you believe that this is due to these professionals finding better employment in other fields.  The reality is that 51% of these professionals have just as likely been crowded out of their chosen field by temporary foreign workers.

Census Bureau: Bachelor’s Degree for the First Listed Major: 2011
Computers, mathematics, and statistics = 1,879,764
51% not working in STEM = 958,679

Other data sources:
Occupational statistics data:
IPEDS Completions Survey by Race


Monday, April 6, 2015

Employment - Unemployment: 25 - 54 Age-group Still Getting Pounded.

Subjects: Unemployment, Immigration, Employment growth, Ages 25 - 54, Male, Female

I recently read a ZeroHedge article, by Tyler Durden, with a thesis on how most employment growth has been going to males, 55 years and older.  I noticed two flaws in the analysis. First, some comparisons only included the age-group 55 - 64 and other data presented includes ages 55 and over (including retirement age). Second, I did not see any consideration for the fact that many of these employed males are baby-boomers and may have aged into the 55 and over category, simply remaining employed in the same position.
(In an earlier posting, I noted that 2/3 of the 3 million net jobs created from 2000 to End of Year (EOY) 2009, were held by retirement age individuals beginning in 2010, most likely, this is a combination of aging into the age-category and choosing not to retire during recession, with some electing to return to the workforce.)
For the reasons I've stated above, I decided to look at the 25 through 54 age-group and do an Employment to Population growth sample from EOY 1999 to the present (end of month March 2015).  During this exercise, one thing that occurred to me is that this would be an opportunity to expose how meaningless the Unemployment statistic really is.

Current (March 2015) employment levels are still 691,000 below Jan. 31, 1999 levels.

In the chart above we are simply examining the aggregate growth of the BLS-CPS population growth (noninstitutionalized civilian population) with employment growth for the 25 - 54 year old age-group. I note that the population has declined by 1.05 million since 2007; considering the fact that immigration is well over 1 million per year, I presume the population decline is due to baby-boomers aging out of the category.

Unemployment vs. Not In the Labor Force: Additionally, I decided to take a look at the unemployment rates for the period and compare them to employment levels. I found two months with almost identical employment levels. In January 2009, employment was 95,921,000 and the Unemployment rate for this age-group was 7.7%.  In January 2015, employment was 95,834,000 and the Unemployment rate was 5.3%.  
Simple logic infers that a reduction of 487,000 (0.39%) in the population, with virtually the same employment levels, did not cause the Unemployment rate to be 2.4% lower. The cause for the Unemployment rate decline is that 2,705,000 fewer persons feel that seeking employment will produce any results.  
If you don't already know how this happens statistically, the search-term is "Not In the Labor Force" and there is a, freshly published, Bureau of Labor Statistics backgrounder here.

 As the ZeroHedge article article does imply, women do seem to have a tougher go than men.

Current (March 2015) female employment levels are still 679,000 below Jan. 31, 1999 levels.

In the chart for females above, I note that the 2001-02 recession caused a flat employment growth rate from 2001 until 2004.  Employment did not return to 1999 levels until 2006, and in comparison to the chart for males (below), the 2004-08 recovery for the female population did not exceed 1999 employment levels, even though this population had increased by 3 million.

Current (March 2015) male employment levels are still 11,000 below Jan. 31, 1999 levels. 
Also of interest is that the entire decline in the population for the age-group is limited to males.

For the male population, I note that the 2001-03 recession was short-lived, with 2007 employment levels reaching 2.6 million higher that Jan. 31, 1999, 4.3 million jobs evaporated by 2009, while the population had increased by 4.2 million for the period.

About these charts: These charts are a sample of how the job-creation engine is performing over a specific period of time.  In the 25 - 54 age group, we have added 6.2 million to the population (5.25%), combined with employment level losses of 691,000 since 
Jan. 31, 1999.

My recommendation (which will fall on deaf ears):  In his wisdom, the President is hell-bent on providing permanent residency to some illegal aliens living within the United States. The problem with this plan is he gives nothing in return and does nothing to restore the employment growth economic-equilibrium.  The remedy is an immigration moratorium, this can be achieved by a decrement in the caps on legal immigration for each illegal alien that is granted status on a one to one basis.


Period ending: March, 2015

(Unadj) Population Level - 25-54 yrs. 
Total = 124,949,000
Male = 61,334,000
Female = 63,615,000

(Unadj) Employment Level - 25-54 yrs.
Total = 96,300,000
Male = 51,615,000
Female = 44,685,000

Data extracted on: April 5, 2015 (2:19:06 PM)

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Great Employment Giveaway

Subjects: H-1B visa, Immigration, Bachelors Degree, L-1 visa, O-1 visa, TN visa, Work years

Since 2000, USCIS starts the fiscal year by giving away about 1 million work-years, in advance, to skilled non-immigrant foreign workers. In the chart below, we see the actual visas granted by year; however, most of these visas do not expire yearly, the H-1B has a six year expiration, the L-1 intracompany-visa a 5 year for worker, or 7 year expiration for manager. The O-1, and TN visas are one year duration and can be extended indefinitely.

In the following chart, we see the same visas as above, combined as a group, with their expiration duration extrapolated. The work-years consistently remain at or above 1 million since the year 2000.

Generally, the skilled visas in question require a bachelors degree or equivalent, the following chart displays the yearly growth in employment levels for bachelors degrees and above, available from the BLS only in the 25 years and above age-group.  When comparing the chart above with the employment growth chart below, we see that from 2001 to 2014, has employment growth exceeded the linear of about 1 million new jobs only 6 times in those 14 years.

In 2008, employment levels for college graduates declined by 106,000.  During that same year 1.46 million non-immigrants were hired, thus, incumbent workers lost 1.56 million jobs.  In fact from 2007, to 2011, untold numbers of US workers and possibly temporary foreign workers lost million of jobs, due to the incessant importation of temporary worker.  Even though employment was growing, the flood of foreign workers made it impossible for separated workers to rejoin the workforce for several years.

This brings us to the data that started me wondering if there is a correlation to the addition of educated workers with worsening employment opportunities.  The chart below compares the percent of bachelor degree'd and above (again age 25 and older) with the percentage of bachelor degree'd and above within the entire civilian population.  In this data, there is no distinction between citizen workers and immigrants, but we see that around the year 2000, temporary foreign workers began to increase, while the opportunities for college graduates decreased.  Note that this is many years prior to the great recession.

Data sources:


Nonimmigrant Visas by Individual Class of Admission (e.g. A1, A2, etc.)*

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Comparison: "Inequality for All"

Subjects: Income Inequality, Immigration

 No, I haven't seen Reich's, Inequality for All, but I did notice a similarity between his "suspension bridge" graph and the Census data for the foreign-born in the labor force, covering roughly the same period.

It appears to this layman, that income inequality peaked during the era of the robber-baron, i.e., the Great Depression and then again at the onset of the Great Recession, where the foreign-born in the labor force was in excess of 15% on both occasions.

Perhaps, the learned economists can explain why an inorganic labor supply, comprised of immigrants, does not upset the labor and wage economic-equilibrium, thereby causing the income inequality gap.


By percent, the lowest level of foreign-born in the labor force was in 1970 at 5.2%. This correlates with the chart provided below "Wages as Percent of GDP"  (Gross Domestic Product).

Wages as Percent of GDP
(as mass-immigration resumes in 1970, wage share declines)

Here is the teaser for the film, if you are interested...

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