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IEEE Orlando Section Monthly
(Professional Activities Committee for Engineers)

Region 3 PACE Coordinator's Report
The top priority for PACE remains gathering support for the IEEE-USA position on H-1B (holding the guest worker quota cap at 65,000) and communicating member comments to their elected congressional representatives in support of the Johnson-Dodd bills, which offer reasonable restraints on both H-1B and L-1 visas. See the special compilation of events, actions, and testimonies on the H-1B issue, "America's High Tech Workforce," at
Other public policy priority issues for IEEE-USA are found at and constituent letters concerning priority legislative issues can be sent from including H-1B, Senate action on national nanotechnology legislation, Grassroots support needed to stop unsolicited commercial e-mail, Support needed for aviation research funding bill (Research and Development Provision in Jeopardy), and on help needed to pass electricity reliability legislation this year (Engineers need to speak out on this vital reform issue).
For those who care whether or not the engineering profession has a voice in public policy, IEEE-USA extends an invitation to join CARE, IEEE-USA's team of grassroots volunteers. See
Third quarter unemployment rates, provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, are:
  • Engineering managers 8.0%
  • Computer and information system managers 5.5%
  • Computer hardware engineers 6.9%
  • Electrical and electronics engineers 6.7%
  • Computer scientists and systems analysts 4.8%
  • Computer software engineers 4.6%
  • Aerospace engineers 4.0%
  • Computer programmers 7.1%
The number employed in EE/Computer occupations (including managers) totals 3,777,000. The number unemployed is 235,000 -- but that number does not include "discouraged workers" who have not sought a job in the previous month. Laid-off engineers who are now teaching to make mortgage payments are counted as employed teachers, not as unemployed engineers. In Orlando, volunteers who helped out at a recent IEEE technical conference included a recent grad with interests in biomedical engineering, and a MS with ten years' experience in telecom, instrumentation, and power engineering. Neither has been able to find a job. I found recently that a carpet salesman I was dealing with had a MS in mechanical engineering.
The newly coined "Engineers' Misery Factor" defines the unused man-years of engineering talent in the U.S. from the median number of weeks that are required to find a new position (38 weeks, in the latest survey of unemployed IEEE members). The Factor currently stands at 172,000 man-years (again, not counting discouraged engineers).
This Factor represents productive skills that are going unused, that are not aiding U.S. competitiveness in a global market place, that are not contributing to the economy through purchases and consumption that would occur if jobs were available, and tax revenues not collected on foregone salaries (salaries that could total $12.9 billion, at $75K per man-year). Also foregone are Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes, and unemployment and workers' compensation premiums that would be paid by employers.
Demand for new grads remains weak; it fell 36% in 2002 and is about at the same level in 2003. See the news story, "Class of '03 caught in a jobs crunch," at
Nationwide average salary offers for new grads (Fall, 2003) are $49,794 for EEs (down 1.2% in a year), $47,109 for CS (down 4.7% in a year) and $51,343 for Computer engineers (up 0.4% in a year).
A PACE program on these and other engineering career issues is available to sections. It was presented last week to the Tallahassee section (see Dr. Bruce Harvey's section report). Contact the undersigned to schedule it.
A Government Activities Committee for the six U.S. regions is being organized, to aid with grassroots efforts affecting issues at the state level, including licensure and Opposing Adoption of the Uniform Computer Information Transaction Act (UCITA) by the states.
Separately, Northrop Grumman has issued a call for 2,000 software engineers. As further details on locations and experience requirements are available, they will be disseminated.
George F McClure, Reg. 3 PACE Coordinator
1730 Shiloh Ln
Winter Park, FL 32789
Ph. 407-647-5092
Fax 407-644-4076


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