National austerity economics is rightly criticized now for relying on the shoddy analyses in the Reinhart-Rogoff paper.  The claimed skill shortage and pressure for more H-1B visas is even worse because it is not even based on a published paper.  News reporters confidently parrot that importing more high skill workers is important to building the US economy.  The topic is graduates of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).   Who is really the “best and the brightest”?  Do employers seek skills they cannot find locally or are the employers just looking for cheaper labor that is easier to exploit?  Professor Norm Matloff at the University of California-Davis writes “No study, other than those sponsored by the industry, has ever shown a shortage.”  This week, a new study of the recent labor market has again shown that there is no shortage.  Here is the article at Slashdot, in the Washington Post, and the original report.

Key findings include:

  • Guestworkers may be filling as many as half of all new IT jobs each year
  • IT workers earn the same today as they did, generally, 14 years ago
  • Currently, only one of every two STEM college graduates is hired into a STEM job each year
  • Policies that expand the supply of guestworkers will discourage U.S. students from going into STEM, and into IT in particular

Funny how the Washington Post identifies the Economic Policy Institute as “Left Leaning,” but has no such labels for pro-corporation, right-leaning groups, like the authors of the Reinhart-Rogoff paper.

Photo by Idaho National Laboratory under Creative Commons license