Tech jobs for US workers fall

Posted by Nick Farrell

The US is facing an increase in the unemployment rate for people at the heart of many tech innovations, even while IT companies claim they are short staffed.

Unemployment among electrical engineers rose sharply in the first quarter of this year and the IEEE-USA says the increase is alarming.

According to Computerworld, electrical engineering jobs declined by 40,000 in the first quarter, and the unemployment rate in the category rose to 6.5 percent, based on an analysis of US Labour Data by the IEEE-USA.

Meanwhile the numbers of unemployed software developers are on the rise. The unemployment rate for software engineers was 2.2 percent in the first quarter, down from 2.8 percent in 2012, IEEE-USA said. This means that there were 1.1 million software developers were employed during the first quarter.

Between 2010 and 2011, the unemployment rate for electrical engineers held at 3.4 percent. In 2012 there were 335,000 electrical engineers counted in the workforce and it's now just 295,000.

Keith Grzelak, the IEEE-USA's vice president of government relations, said that the first quarter unemployment spike is alarming.

He warned that unemployment rates for engineers could get worse if the IT industry gets its way on H-1B visas.

The big technology companies are lobbying their sock puppets in Washington to get the numbers of H-1B visas increased so that they can bring in more foreign IT workers.

The US  reported this week that it had received 124,000 H-1B petitions for the 85,000 visas allowed.

Not surprisingly, the IEEE-USA has long opposed efforts to increase the numbers of H-1B visas.