In the following email and phone exchange the BLS does not dispute that their data indicates that 20% or more of U.S. computer programmers are either unemployed or have been displaced into another profession.

From: Kim Berry
Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2003 10:31 AM
To: cpsinfo@bls.gov
Subject: RE: BLS: Where are the 150,000 programmers who "left the workforce"?

Followup:
 
Randy (202 691-5456) from BLS phoned me.
 
1) He explained that this current population survey does not track individuals longitudally (the same person over time) so it does not reveal the impact on the 150,000+ displaced programmers who now are working doing something.
 
2) He stated that, even without my interpolation to a 20% or greater unemployment among programmers, the 7.1% that this data reveals is still "very high" - exceeding the national average for all occupations.
 
3) He clarified that my last paragraph is incorrect - the survey is independent of whether individuals are receiving unemployment benefits. (Maybe the State has data based on benefits? http://www.calmis.ca.gov/htmlfile/subject/lftable.htm)
 
4) He did not dispute that my inference that 20% of computer programmers in the U.S. are either unemployed or working in another profession - likely lower-paid - is reasonable.
 
Nonetheless, Congress continues to admit up to 65,000 foreign tech workers per year on the premise of a labor shortage, and DOL continues to grant petitions for both nonimmigrant and permanent immigrants into this labor pool with no requirement of a showing that no qualified U.S. workers are available.
 
Shouldn't these visas be immediately suspended until the number of employed programmers approaches the 2000 level? Shouldn't some nonimmigrant visas be revoked to provide needed employment for U.S. tech workers?
 
Sincerely,
Kim Berry
-----Original Message-----
From: Kim Berry
Sent: Sunday, November 23, 2003 12:39 PM
To: 'cpsinfo@bls.gov'
Subject: BLS: Where are the 150,000 programmers who "left the workforce"?

BLS,     (http://www.bls.gov/cps/cps_cont.htm)
 
Please refer to the chart in this article, which is based on BLS statistics:
 
http://informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=16100697
 
Rise And Fall
It concludes that programmer unemployment is "only" about 7% because the number of programmers in the workforce has dropped by about 150,000 workers in the last three years.
 
This is an odd presumption since a record number of foreign programmers entered the U.S. on nonimmigrant visas during this period - roughly another 100,000 in this workforce category.
 
Unless BLS expects us to believe that the bulk of these workers have been promoted to managers - or retired to the south of France on dot-com stock options - then there should be 800.000 programmers in the U.S. workforce - with only 550,000 currently employed.
 
This suggests that unemployment among computer programmers is (250/800) =  31% UNEMPLOYMENT
 
Can you please explain why my reasoning is flawed, and why BLS excludes programmers whose benefits have expired as no longer part of the workforce?
 
Sincerely,
Mr. Kim Berry
Sacramento, CA
www.naea.us - board
www.programmersguild.org - president
cell: 916 213-0492