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Silicon Valley Hiring Boom And The National Job Picture

In the midst of still-high unemployment, there’s a hiring frenzy on for engineers in Silicon Valley. We’ll check it out.

The cafeteria at Google's Silicon Valley campus. (brionv/Flickr)

The cafeteria at Google's Silicon Valley campus. (brionv/Flickr)

Private data out this week showing more hope on the jobs and hiring front.

Payrolls up more than 200,000 a month so far this year, compared to just over 70,000 a month last Fall. There is still a huge overhang of unemployment to tackle.

In at least one corner of the economy, hiring is white hot — Silicon Valley is on a tear. Clamoring, competing for software engineers and the kind of folks that make Facebook run.

Salaries, perks, bonuses – all getting giddy. Free massage. Yoga lessons. Maybe a new bubble.

This hour On Point: Silicon Valley guns for new hires.

- Tom Ashbrook


Marc Lifsher, business reporter for the Los Angeles Times.

Sophia Koropeckyj, managing director for Moody’s Analytics. She covers national labor markets.

Doug Henton, chairman and CEO of Collaborative Economics.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Cory

    This is great news for the miniscule percentage of the population that are software and computer engineers. Speaking of percentages… how many people qualified for these jobs aren’t even Americans or are foreign born? The solution to unemployment woes are jobs for AVERAGE Americans, 20-40 million of which are currently unemployed.

    So how do you create 20-40 million jobs in THIS country for modestly educated Americans in the era of globalization? The answer, no matter how impossible it seems, is economic isolationism. THINGS must be built HERE once again. Law must FORCE this new reality. Infrastructure, durable goods and the like must be built here by the 20-40 million who currently are idle. We also must focus on creating our own energy through a wide variety of means, from tidal generators to good ole fashioned coal. We must once again create physical value within our own borders. No more fictitious virtual wealth that Wallstreet currently specializes in.

    Why won’t this happen? Why is this impossible? We are too far down the road to globalized plutocracy. We are locked in a rat-race to the bottom with billions of people so poor and desperate that we cannot compete with their labor cost. Corporations care nothing for national boundaries and are unconcerned with the well-being of individual nations. American politicians are beholden to cash and re-election above all else. The American electorate are addicted to cheap goods and are throwing away protections like unionization.

    Or 20-40 million of us could become software/computer engineers and work for Google, I guess.

    • Ellen Dibble

      We need a president whose campaign is funded by the unemployed, Cory. Or merely funded by those who are not seeing profits overseas paying Filipino salaries and keeping their taxable profits offshore. Candidates funded by them, and with strong PR departments who keep pointing out how Obama’s birth certificate was scanned into a computer and is therefore not valid, and how he is a Muslim despite his Christian faith, and how his ears are really amusing — oh, I agree on that last point.
      Those candidates, funded by those most adept at maneuvering the legislature including the tax committees (guess how), will bring us another president in this mold, and we eager-to-work are about to become dinosaurs. Just sign me up for foodstamps and public housing. Bring me a church to reassure me and some prescription uppers and downers to keep me from using my collection of firearms. Please. And I won’t be troublesome.

      • g, Buffalo, NY

        You forgot socialist. How our president is called a socialist whenever the new health care act comes up. :)

        • Grady lee Howard

          Bernie Sanders is a socialist. Obama is a corporate clone. I could vote for Bernie.

    • g, Buffalo, NY

      I am all for production moving back here, home. But are you or what you call an average American consumer willing to pay a higher price for similar goods?
      Most wouldn’t. As evident by the popularity of Walmart!

      I don’t shop at Walmart even though it’s cheaper.
      I shop at Target.
      But I don’t think it’s any better when it comes to their practices overseas.
      I wish Target would have a separate section, in each department that sold same things but that were made in the US.
      I would pay double the price for a shirt made in US. I don’t know if I would pay triple the price though. And what if it costs $30 to make a shirt and sell it, instead of $10 it costs now? :)

      And I also think that having more transparency would be good. In government and companies.

      Can the average American look at the government budget and question it? I would bet that even if it was available publicly, you’d need a PhD to decipher it. :)

      I also think that our current administration can encourage construction and production by stimulating green jobs. Lets build more solar and wind power generators and more fuel efficient cars and electric charging stations. Same with high speed rails and energy efficient buildings. It would set up a much needed infrastructure, create jobs, stimulate the economy, etc.

      I mean, if the regular joe-shmo like myself can come up with such brilliant idea, I would think that the master minds in Washington have already thought about it and … just haven’t done anything about it or decided that it wasn’t viable or what? Why?

      Why haven’t the “diamonds” of Silicon Valley thought about this?
      Surely it would be a great business idea, to make someone very very profitable and super rich. :)

      • Ellen Dibble

        Gina, I worked as a clerk in a government documents department of a library for decades, and there were always copies of the budget available for free to us as a government depository library, or by the public for a price, from the GPO, government printing office. I believe we catalogued the proposed bills as well as the final budgets. Nowadays, I suppose libraries let users access those through the internet, and I suppose you can do that right now. The problem is the interpretation.

    • Grady Lee Howard

      What does gaming and recreational communication produce? Don’t say happiness. The software being sought by the oligarchy would destroy net neutrality and democratic web discourse. Provide that (with airtight contract) and you’re an instant billionaire. Maybe they’re creating it in China.

  • LRob

    What America needs is a second $787 billion dollar Obama economic stimulus package, we all remember how well the first one worked.

    • Cory

      The only way to know how well it worked would be to travel back in time and NOT pass the original stimulus. Then we could see what would have happened to the economy WITHOUT it.

      Why don’t YOU tell us how it worked? Perhaps you could also tell us what would have happened if no stimulus bill had been passed? Do you remember the economic free-fall we were in at the end of the last presidential administration?

      I think a more substantial post would have gone something like this: “I don’t like Barrack Obama. He has big ears”. It expresses your intended sentiment without requiring logic or proof. Just a simple expression of an opinion requiring no defense at all.

      • William

        But President Hoover and FDR both tried to spend their way out of the Great Depression and for the most part accomplished nothing. So why did President Obama not learn from their mistakes?

        • Cory

          You also may feel free to answer the questions I posed to Lrob. What would have happened without the stimulus package and bailouts?

          The real point of my response was to point out the obvious purpose of Lrob’s post. It was a silly and transparent cheap shot at the president. By the way, I’m not at all impressed with the work of the current president, I’m just less impressed with Lrob’s post.

        • Ellen Dibble

          William and LRob have my buzz-saw working on these talking points.
          Apply the same logic to the government’s response to the Great Depression: What if the presidents had NOT tried to infuse some liquidity into the American workforce? What if they had infused more (as an example, World War II)?
          But a difference between Bush II’s wars and those of FDR: We paid for World War II. I was a little girl, and I can remember. We considered ourselves lucky to be post-war and post-Depression, but we lived very very close to the bone. Our car, Madame X, apparently pre-dated my father’s marriage and the war. We lived on liver, kidneys, tongue — very healthy but cheap. After about six years, things loosened up (or was it the salaries), and cars ceased to be all black and ancient. We had a blue one. And Eisenhower (Republican Texas) in those days was spreading out the new interstate highway system all across the nation, the better to defend ourselves in case of attack. No tight-wad he.
          As to Bush, did he pay for those wars? Did we beat terrorism into submission? Did Obama? Nope. Instead we had TARP, HAMP, what have you, what have you. All unpaid for.
          What did all those returning GIs in 1945 do for work? Mostly went to school on the GI bill? Now what do the laid-off workers do? Mostly go to school on the ObamaCare Bill? Wha….

        • ThresherK

          You say “nothing”, I say “millions kept out of starvation, poverty among the elderly slashed, a host of public goods and infrastructure put into place”.

          Or are you on that Reagan kick about how the Great Depression brought families together–from a man whose father was on public assistance then? Despite all statistics to the contrary on alcoholism, malnutrition, dire poverty, interrupted childhoods, cancelled educations, and out-of-retirement jobseekers the Invisible Hand of the Market brought us?

          We are soooo not reading from the same dictionary.

      • Mike44

        I’m with you Cory. Neither LRob or William understand how bad things were been and that we needed the gov’t to spend big time when the consumer couldn’t and wouldn’t. WW2 pulled us out of the Great Depression because it required massive gov’t spending.

      • Grady Lee Howard

        If we could travel back in time we could prevent corporate capitalism itself. Why treat symptoms?

    • ThresherK

      Yep. Ask any number of economists.

      Oh, wait: You were snarking?

  • LRob

    Obama’s new war in Libya has got to be good for the economy, right? Those 159 Tomahawk missles ($1,066,465 dollars each) that we’ve fired at Libyan targets have got to be replenished, not to mention our F15E Strike Eagles ($100 million dollars each) that keep getting shot down over Libyan skies have to be replaced as well.

    • Cory

      Almost as good as the TWO unfunded wars begun by the last administration, right?

  • Michael

    Could Onpoint do a show on Sweatshops and U.S. companies use and support of them?

    Guangdong Province now has a booming economy and accounts for half of China’s GDP.

    But it is an economy powered by millions of migrant workers who are desperate enough to accept long hours, low pay and dangerous conditions because the alternatives back home are worse.

    We had come to follow up a story about a young woman called Li Chun Mei. Apparently the 19-year-old had collapsed and died last November at the end of a 16-hour shift.

    Like many of the staff, she often had to work past midnight, especially in the run-up to Christmas.

    The girls who shared her dormitory found her lying on the bathroom floor with blood pouring from her nose and mouth.

    The bosses, who were Korean, did not deny that Li had died on their premises. They blamed the death not on overwork but on earlier injuries Li suffered when she was hit by a motorcycle.

    In any case, at the end of last year she was working for a subcontractor.


    How many companies in Silicon Valley use slave labor from china or third world counties? and why do we allow this? Since were all about human rights (so we say)

  • Michael


    Tang Yinghong was caught in an impossible squeeze. For years, his employer, Ningbo Beifa Group, had prospered as a top supplier of pens, mechanical pencils, and highlighters to Wal-Mart Stores (WMT ) and other major retailers. But late last year, Tang learned that auditors from Wal-Mart, Beifa’s biggest customer, were about to inspect labor conditions at the factory in the Chinese coastal city of Ningbo where he worked as an administrator. Wal-Mart had already on three occasions caught Beifa paying its 3,000 workers less than China’s minimum wage and violating overtime rules, Tang says. Under the U.S. chain’s labor rules, a fourth offense would end the relationship. Help arrived suddenly in the form of an unexpected phone call from a man calling himself Lai Mingwei. The caller said he was with Shanghai Corporate Responsibility Management & Consulting Co., and for a $5,000 fee, he’d take care of Tang’s Wal-Mart problem. “He promised us he could definitely get us a pass for the audit,” Tang says.

    Lai provided advice on how to create fake but authentic-looking records and suggested that Beifa hustle any workers with grievances out of the factory on the day of the audit, Tang recounts. The consultant also coached Beifa managers on what questions they could expect from Wal-Mart’s inspectors, says Tang. After following much of Lai’s advice, the Beifa factory in Ningbo passed the audit earlier this year, Tang says, even though the company didn’t change any of its practices.

    For more than a decade, major American retailers and name brands have answered accusations that they exploit “sweatshop” labor with elaborate codes of conduct and on-site monitoring. But in China many factories have just gotten better at concealing abuses. Internal industry documents reviewed by BusinessWeek reveal that numerous Chinese factories keep double sets of books to fool auditors and distribute scripts for employees to recite if they are questioned. And a new breed of Chinese consultant has sprung up to assist companies like Beifa in evading audits. “Tutoring and helping factories deal with audits has become an industry in China,” says Tang, 34, who recently left Beifa of his own volition to start a Web site for workers.


    • MargaretH

      Maybe Walmart would do better to source right here in the USA

      A comment from the same source:

      Nickname: MadeinUSA
      Review: Dear “ForcedOverseas”, Its terrible that you have been unable to source a American manufacturer. I am sure there are plenty of companies that would love to provide you with a quality product. However, your decision to have it made in China is quite alarming. First of all, by doing so your American dollars are being taken overseas and out of our economy. You are putting your neighbors out of work, and replacing them with children while asking them to work and live in deplorable conditions. Why, so you can make $15.00 on whatever piece of crap you’re selling. Why don’t you move to China and see what kind of hard earned liberties they are willing to give you…!
      Date reviewed: Aug 19, 2010 6:28 PM

    • Grady Lee Howard

      So Shanghai Corporate Responsibility, Management and Consulting Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wal-Mart? That’s what I’d expect ‘cuz that’s the way it works here with OSHA.

  • Michael

    How many of these engineers are being hired by the use Joint Ventures companies like Syntel?

  • Michael



    Near Slave Labor Sweat Shops in China Lead to Worker Suicides

    We have been told by the Davos set, people like Thomas Friedman, that we should be more like China–and then we could build worker friendly green industries on the double time! Of course, China’s near slave labor pool of “migrant workers” helps the country, shall we say, keep production costs low. And the chickens are beginning to come home to roost.

    As Taiwan-invested Foxconn promises to upgrade living conditions at its enormous electronics factory in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen after a spate of employee suicides, experts are calling for a rethink of traditional sweatshop business models amid a wave of industrial action. Foxconn, which assembles Apple’s iPhone, said Sunday it had signed an agreement with two property management companies to take over the running of on-site housing for 450,000 of its migrant workers. Critics have blamed inhuman working conditions at the plant for the suicides,

    “Foxconn’s military management model, including scolding and sometimes beating front-line workers, helps drive isolated Chinese workers to kill themselves,” Yang told The Associated Press on Monday. “If the company does not put an end to that, there will be more suicides in the future.”

    • Ellen Dibble

      In a globally connected world, where we buy foreign products and allow international corporations, which employ workers in all sorts of countries, I do consider workers involved in the international economy to be “our business” beyond our humanitarian scruples. Instead of a plantation with slaves who are not voting citizens, we have a globe including the plantation China, with workers who are not our voting citizens.
      Since those citizens are clearly not American, we don’t have any say-so, we can’t write a new Constitutional amendment that enfranchises them. So we wash our hands of it, Pontius Pilate saying, I’m out of here; you do it.
      It would be healthier to have local businesses here, anyway, with less transportation involved. Fueled by local energy sources. Sold by local people to local people. Any malfeasance would have “natural” overseers. My rug sewn in India I’m not so sure of. I suppose it was sewn by my slave, so to speak. Alternatively, she could starve.
      Now that we proclaim a universal right to freedom of speech and assembly, the sound of the world’s people begins to surface. We can’t say all the Arabs are radical and suspect Islamists; clearly some are a lot like us. A side benefit of Arab Spring. But either we normalize to become more like them (low pay), or they normalize to be more like us (higher pay). Hopefully along the way we get the infrastructure we need under way, not the environmentally self-destructive jobs that are so easy to create, cookie-cutter style, whether here or elsewhere.

      • Michael

        “Since those citizens are clearly not American, we don’t have any say-so, we can’t write a new Constitutional amendment that enfranchises them. So we wash our hands of it, Pontius Pilate saying, I’m out of here; you do it.”

        I disagree with what your getting at, we have a say so on what products come in to our country (like ones without lead would be a example). We also have the ability to create laws here in the U.S. that set standards (which could be applied to products coming to the U.S.). Not only does the use of slave labor a human factor but also a economic factor since it in a since is reducing jobs in the U.S.

        Unless your getting at because X country uses slaves to produce there goods that Y country cannot pass laws to not trade with X country?

        Also what’s your take on blood diamonds? would you make the same reasoning for the U.S. ?

        • Ellen Dibble

          Michael, I’m being devil’s advocate to some extent. I want people to
          address this issue. I am feeling optimistic in that it seems the world
          might create a united nations in more than name in that not only do we trade
          and inter-communicate, but we believe there are common rights and are
          willing to act on that. It affects everything: in this case jobs here and
          What a huge development. Obama spoke of universal human rights when he
          first addressed an uprising in north Africa, and I thought, hey, that’s MY
          constitutition, with MY rights, and they’re hard enough to protect here, let
          alone abroad. But he persisted.
          There is an enormous impact, in trade, in law, in military coordination
          and objectives.
          If everyone were on the same page, and we considered the whole planet of
          humans functioning as a whole to assure what we like to assure to Americans,
          we might protect the planet from all sorts of calamities, and enable unified
          responses whether to natural disasters or terrorist threats. (Or financial
          dislocations?) Like the original fractious American colonies, we have to
          learn to hang together or we hang apart (not so directly now; a harder case
          to make).
          But since the beginning of human awareness, we have evolved to protect
          one group against another group, rather than against threats to everyone all
          at once. The “enemy” is built into our awareness. In American politics you
          see this in the insistence that anything done cooperatively is surely
          socialist, if not Red Communist. Competition, beating out the other side,
          is supposed to create the best outcome. Case in point: World War I. World
          War II. What else.
          Yeah, right. Ask the women of the world who have always had to
          negotiate from the perspective of lesser might. There are alternatives.
          But this is bursting on our awareness. What does Israel do? Help its
          neighbors achieve the kind of self-determination their tradition believes is
          sacred? Build some street-cred in a “dangerous neighborhood”? These are
          the questions that I want answered. Listen to Charlie Rose for Wednesday
          night for four savvy people addressing that, especially Rashid Khalidi of
          Columbia and Robert Malley, with Brazzi and Tabler. They ask the question,
          then know enough to stop.

          • Grady Lee Howard

            Hey, those North Africans are our weapons customers!

  • Michael


    Microsoft Investigating Sweatshop Allegations in China
    Young Chinese factory workers reportedly producing Xbox 360 controllers over 15 hour shifts.


    Following a recent report by the Pittsburgh-based National Labor Committee, Microsoft is investigating allegations of improper working conditions in a Chinese manufacturing plant (via Eurogamer).

    The report alleges that workers at the KYE factory in Dongguan put in 15 hour shifts for approximately 52 cents an hour, and inhabit primitive dorm rooms. Among the products manufactured at the facility are Xbox 360 controllers.

    Vice President of Manufacturing and Operations Brian Tobey responded on the company’s official blog, saying that Microsoft adheres to all relevant labor and safety requirements, “We were therefore very concerned when we saw a report by the National Labor Committee (NLC) alleging that conditions at a factory operated by KYE in Dongguan, China, were adversely impacting workers.”

    Nice that Bill has a foundation that helps the poor that his companies and the companies in invested in abuse.

    • Grady Lee Howard

      Abuse 100, then help the one who can help you.

  • Michael

    Would onpoint or NPR refuse money/donations from companies that use slave labor?

    I yet to hear NPR question Bill Gates or Steve Jobs about such sweatshops? But have taken there underwriting money and since the 2009 and 2010 donation list is not on the website it’s hard to tell how much they(Gates and Jobs) have given to NPR .


  • Geri

    Michael, Rather than spout your blather – why don’t you get off your derriere and do something constructive – or are you one of the many repeaters in this wasteland of gibberish who are on the public dole?

    • Ellen Dibble

      And what is a personal attack if not blather? Before you ask me what I do for a living, please tell me about yourself.

  • Christine Hillgrove

    Tom—- it is pronounced “Sill-ih-cawn” not “Sill-ih-cone”

    • Anonymous

      Or SIL-ih-cun, depending on what side of the pond you learned your English.

  • Anonymous

    Yoga lessons and massages–this sounds like yesterday’s discussion: too much money, too little sense.

    Greg Camp
    Springdale, AR

    • ThresherK

      Perhaps the equation is: Massage is cheap, if it gets them (say) ten hours of additional OT-exempt labor per week per employee.

      And I wouldn’t be surprised if hundreds of people there have the title “manager”, according to the NLRB.

  • http://profiles.google.com/caldwell.victoria Victoria Caldwell

    I have a son majoring in electrical engineering/computer science at Stanford who has been inundated with offers from companies large and small out there. My sense is that there just aren’t enough of his type for these companies to pick from.

  • Anonymous

    I’d be pleased if these Silicon Valley geniuses would just make products that the rest of us can use without frustration. What happened to Google’s simple and elegant page, for example? Now it’s clogged with sidebars and instant suggestions and autocomplete. Software doesn’t all have to follow the Microsoft model.

  • Anonymous

    Get him, Tom. I like the attack dog in you.

  • Toferburl

    Tom, your arrogance and rudeness is only matched by your ignorance. Allow people the chance to answer you, you fatuous git, you’re as nasty as Bill O’ Reilly. You give NPR a bad name with your ego and inability to respect others.

    • Anonymous

      Even when the person being interviewed is talking nonsense?

  • Ellen Dibble

    Gotta say this show is relevant to me. A renter downstairs is moving to a better job in San Francisco in a couple months, a chef job, so her apartment is available as a step up for me (and big enough to share with a certain three nephews all in college studying engineering in various permutations, with housing enough of an issue for them to stand in the way at least of their graduate school). So between chef as spin-off job, and engineers (being courted from the git-go, as I understand it, by employers), the world seems fine.

    • Anonymous

      Who was the man who pulled out of the stock market before the crash of 1929 because his shoeshine boy talked about the stocks that he owned? Steady growth is safer than boom and bust.

      • ThresherK

        That’s Joe Kennedy. I don’t know if the story is apocryphal, but if it is, wouldn’t there have been thousands of people using it?

        (Per Wikipedia.)

  • Ed Walker

    Doug is one of those old-style economists like Alan Greenspan. “What’s a bubble” is the question Greenspan and his ilk were asking as he blew two of them, playing a big role in the Great Crash of 2008.

    Doug and other Greenspanites are unwilling to reconsider the theories that got us into trouble, and as long as he and people like him are around in decision-making capacities, we are going to see more crashes and misery.

  • Ed Walker

    Doug wants us to think Twitter and Facebook make products and sell them to make money.

    Nonsense. I would not pay a penny to use either. They are simply reallocating advertising revenues from one internet site to another.

    • lets be reasonable here…

      Also…how do Twitter + Facebook lead to growth in manufacturing/transportation jobs?

  • Ed Walker

    Sonya works for Moody’s. The rating agencies were a primary factor in the Great Crash according to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

    Naturally, she completely agrees with Doug.

  • Steve L

    It seems very odd to me that employers always say that they want people who can and will learn but they never seem to want the employees to learn at the company.
    Employers don’t want people who can learn, they want people who already know, only to throw them away when the next technology comes along.

    Steve in Nashville

  • Sik4toyz

    Here’s what you haven’t talked about with regards to engineers, and programmers (my industry since 2001). These companies, dot coms, software etc, can work you for 12 hours a day. So on top of keeping up with the latest language and technology, in our “off” hours, we have to sit in an office, in front of a computer for TWELVE hours or more, every day. No one leaves for lunch, and no one smokes. Why on earth would anyone go to school for this, only to be chained to the computer all day?! So when you talk about a shortage, there’s your answer.

    In my opinion, the people that do not keep up with new languages, and the industry deserve to be left behind. The internet is a living breathing thing…which means it changes all the time. 6 years ago, HTML was enough. Or C++. Now? Fuggetaboutit.

    • bubbleRefuge

      Yeah Right. Then why are C/C++ programmers the highest paid these days?

  • Ed Walker

    I’d really appreciate hearing from someone not tied to the failed economic theories spring from Milton Friedman and the Randian Alan Greenspan. The failure of their theories caused massive damage not just to the economy but to society.

    Surely there are people whose ideas about the economy give us a different way forward. Jamie Galbraith? Joe Stiglitz? Others?

    • bubbleRefuge

      You are 100% right. Throw in Dr. Ranal Wray + Warren Mossler.

  • Mtx993

    What company does Michelle work for?

  • Mtx993

    What company does Michelle work for?

  • J. Jay

    It takes more than a bunch of software developers to build and maintain an IT product. What about software testers, tech writers, customer support people, finance and marketing people? The boom needs to spread beyond Python developers to other jobs in the industry before it starts to have a significant effect on the rest of the economy.

  • J. Jay

    It takes more than a bunch of software developers to build and maintain an IT product. What about software testers, tech writers, customer support people, finance and marketing people? The boom needs to spread beyond Python developers to other jobs in the industry before it starts to have a significant effect on the rest of the economy.

  • LRob

    With 26 states suing to have Obamacare over-turned, and with two federal judges ruling that Obamacare is unconstitutional, what’s going to happen to the 13,000 I.R.S. agents who were hired to enforce Obamacare?

    Having 13,000 fired Obamacare I.R.S. agents out on the street is really going to hurt the economy.

    • Jim in Omaha

      I believe you a day early. Inane attempts at humor are typically reserved for April 1st. Unless you actually think what you say in your comments is true. In which case your comments are really humerous.

  • Bit Twiddler

    As a college professor in Computer Science, I have seen our graduates’ offers almost double in the last two years.

    The demand for “math-centric” disciplines, like CS and engineering have increased as the overall math skill in our youth declines. Just as being a physician or lawyer held a cachet in my youth, engineers will have the same allure in the future.

    As a corollary, the Computer Science job market was barely touched by the recession.

  • jude s-r

    I’m not an expert in the market or business, but language is my thing.

    Tom? You aren’t stupid…neither is your audience. You certainly aren’t as ignorant of semantics (‘Language’, says Doug) as you made out to be today, when you attempted to bully Mr. Henton into speaking about this issue the way YOU wanted him to. Upon listening to your staunch attack on Mr. Henton’s LEGITIMATE argument about the misleading use of language in the articles discussed here, I was left with the impression that you were exactly what you accused Mr. Henton of being…you blatantly and aggressively defended one side of the story without regards to the very real components of the stories here.

    Frankly, sir, I was left disappointed in your reportage since it showed such an obvious prejudice. Shame on you.

    • Pancake Rankin

      I hesitate to say this for fear of being banned again, but Tom is biased about cyberspace entrepreneurship because of his own experience of making a bundle through his kitchen and home design site run by his partner Rouse. When the “new games” are completed and the tracking and collections software is in place for improved extraction from electronic device users there will be a plateau for profit-taking (assuming the market holds). Then the geniuses of today will be discarded for the geniuses of tomorrow. These are temp jobs (if they really exist beyond the propaganda buzz). If you believed today’s show, that make believe images on a screen portend an economic recovery, you will also believe Coke Zero (rancid) prevents the uptake of Iodine 131.

  • Mom

    Does Silicon Valley employ graphic designers from Yale?

  • Pancake Rankin

    Recently I watched an NHK (Japanese) program on game development, how it is a highly secretive field involving complex psychological manipulation and industrial espionage. They also noted how much more intensely violent, sexist and nihilistic American games are than those developed in other countries. It was suggested in the piece that the American Military Industrial Complex, Pentagon procurement, DARPA, DIA and other agencies have an interest in promoting psychic violence in the gaming subculture of American society. This mind molding effect cannot help but influence a pro-war foreign policy and a garrison state mentality. Recent local programs in Charlotte have also mentioned government funding. Is this boom at least partially cooked up by the hawk/profiteering element within our government? Have you seen 13 year old boys’ eyes when they come off a wargame binge? Have you seen Grandpa’s eyes after he has been electronically raping and pillaging for several hours? Most of this ain’t Smurfs and Farmville as despicable as these time-wasters may be.

  • Mike


    Doug Henton tried to explain why he didn’t think the current situation with social media companies was a tech bubble and you didn’t even give your guest the opportunity. I thought I was listening to a program on Fox News. I am very disappointed in On Point and NPR.


    • Becky

      Just listened to this podcast – I listen to it everyday – and have to agree with Mike’s comment. Issues aside, I was very disappointed in the manner that Mr. Ashbrook conducted this conversation, not paying respect to Doug Henton’s point of view and completely ignoring the points put forward.

  • Bnovus

    This sounds like they are getting ready to push congress to expand the HR visa’s to bring in low cost foreign engineers. I have seen it before- there are laid- off US engineers but Microsoft and others would rather bring a foreign engineer they pay a fraction and hold them as practically prisoners through the visa/green card process.

    Start to treat engineers as professionals, pay a decent wage and treat them with respect and more kids will become engineers and the demand will be met.

    I have engineering friends that have been laid off for years.


  • losefear

    why is this freaking npr always fear mongering as if the end of the world is near. you got to be kidding.you already uttered the word “Bubble” with so much unemployment. let there be a bubble so that we at least get out of this freaking mess and hopeless situation we are in.i will take bubble at this time rather than fear mongering like you.

  • PhilC_Boston

    So many of the comments here, while interesting and valid for their topics have gotten off point.

    The conversation between these 3 people almost inspired me to call.

    Doug kept harping on language and that the activities now vs pre-bubble are different and more measured. Let’s accept that.

    Now let’s say, “So what?”

    The conversation about massages and free lunch and other perks that Silicon Valley is doing to woo “new superstars” is the same behavior as before because the people hiring them are likely the same as before. And when you target the “new superstars” that are new college grads, it’s very easy to overlook the fact that they’re getting these new college grads at a bargain when compared to workers who have more experience, etc. The perks sound nice and definitely have the intent to keep the workers on campus to make them work longer and even make people feel like they work for a “cool company.”

    The thing that no one focused on enough during this conversation is that the currently out-of-work have skills and experience that new college grads do not necessarily have. And while Python and other languages-du-jour will be mentioned as long as time continues to move forward, no one recognizes that people with skill and experience can adapt and pick up new programming languages with a good reference text and that problem solving is something that comes to those that are good at solving them and employing the tools to which they have access at the time.

    The other piece that bothered me was that there’s almost an assumption that people coming out of school with new CS/Eng degrees automatically have “cutting edge” skills. Sadly, that’s not true. Most schools don’t even teach the newest languages. And more importantly, that’s not even important. I learned more about computer science from an operating systems programming class using C++ and can probably solve more problems than any noob using Python. :-)

    I also question Sophia’s value on this spot given she said so many words, slowly, and didn’t quite say much.

    If Doug’s comments about Google or Facebook and how they’re offering “real products” with real returns could be accepted w/o great laughter, I’d have been more convinced. While I can’t argue that Facebook has a large audience, it IS NOT a product. Nor is it innovative or cutting edge or whatever. It’s a site with many captive eyeballs that are being inundated with advertising. This is a business model as old as time using that new-fangled internet as a delivery method to procrastinating kids & adults with time to play crystal castle (or whatever it’s named) who occasionally look over at the right margin and see ads that are poorly targeted.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been there (Silicon Valley, high high-tech pay) and on balance I don’t find it a good deal.

    The flip side of high pay in high-tech is no job security, no lifetime career path, and no place for “older” people. And living with very significant stress (the constant threat of technical obsolescence, the long days and missed weekends, 24/7 connectivity, etc.) takes a significant toll.

    Neither the economic downturn nor the recent high-tech boom have changed that.

    I was pushed off the merrry-go-round, and I couldn’t get back on, and the fact that I was highly paid in my younger years isn’t much consolation. The personnel practices of high-tech companies still don’t lead to a “sustainable” society.

  • http://www.picturesquestudios.com Stevedawg

    I live down here in Austin. Maybe I’m not in the right world but I don’t see it. I think this is kind of rushing to conclusions.

  • a young guy

    I was recently hired by Google, and I can tell you that from my perspective the perks are purposeful, not frivolous. They keep people working hard (even during lunch) and make them think twice about leaving (stock options = investment in the company, financial and ideological). I for one feel like I may be there for a long time– working hard!!

  • No Way

    Looking to this industry (again) to lead our economy is so stupid. I believe in tech, but not tech as a career path for anyone but the entrepreneur. If you don’t have your own company by 30, you’re bald and living with your parents by 32, even if your starting salary was $100K with a free yoga class.

  • Tom_Cruise

    I hate listening to this story – talking about Google growth and employment. Let’s kill off the executives during a downturn and 6 months later target the college grads. After all, a yoga class isn’t much for a 45 year old with a family of three.

  • IMK

    I saw the original article in NYT, and discussed this phenomena with friends. The whole thing about new grads being so popular as opposed to older and more experienced developers doesn’t quite make sense to me, other than that the new grads are cheaper and easier to manipulate into working 12 hours a day and having no life. Any decent developer should be able to pick up a new programming language fairly easily. I am an MIT grad, and while I did not major in computer science, majority of my friends did, and MIT barely teaches you any currently used programming languages, they teach you concepts that you should be able to apply to anything. Culture/ability to work new grads to death seems to be the most likely reason for young programmers’ popularity. I visited Facebook when one of my friends worked there, and it’s like a college campus – I don’t think I saw anyone older than 25. The only older lady that I saw there was the mother of one of the employees! So…. cry me a river, Google. I don’t believe for a second that you can’t find qualified people, more like you’re not willing to give some of the older guys and gals a chance.

  • Donttrustgovernment

    If the American people could afford to go to college then there might be more highly qualified American workers available for hire by American companies. Of course, it’s not just a problem of a limited supply of workers who are qualified, it’s also employers who only want imported labor for skilled positions. Many of us saw the now famous video of immigration attorneys from Cohen & Grigsby explaining how they assist employers in running classified ads with the goal of NOT finding any qualified applicants. This happens at the low end of the wage scale, too. Here in Jackson, WY, we have several thousand visa workers helping to keep wages depressed. Our employers aren’t about to extend job opportunities to folks in Michigan when they can run to Mexico for indentured servants. They go out of their way to avoid competing for American labor in the American marketplace. Millions of unemployed Americans and congress wants more visa workers. It’s shameful.

Sep 2, 2014
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., talks with Mark Wilson, event political speaker chairperson, with his wife Elain Chao, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, at the annual Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky., Saturday, August 4, 2012. (AP)

Nine weeks counting now to the midterm elections. We’ll look at the key races and the stakes.

Sep 2, 2014
Confederate spymaster Rose O'Neal Greenhow, pictured with her daughter "Little" Rose in Washington, D.C.'s Old Capitol Prison in 1862. (Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

True stories of daring women during the Civil War. Best-selling author Karen Abbott shares their exploits in a new book: “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy.”

Sep 1, 2014
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (95) recovers a fumble by Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson (3) in the second quarter of the NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP)

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Sep 1, 2014
This Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 photo shows a mural in in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago dedicated to the history of the Pullman railcar company and the significance for its place in revolutionizing the railroad industry and its contributions to the African-American labor movement. (AP)

On Labor Day, we’ll check in on the American labor force, with labor activist Van Jones, and more.

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