The unemployment rate reached an all-time high of 7% for electrical and electronic engineers in the first quarter of 2003, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. During the third quarter, the unemployment rate decreased slightly to 6.7%, which is still six times as high as the 1997 rate. John Steadman, IEEE-USA president-elect, attributes the high unemployment levels to the offshoring of high-tech jobs and the increase in work visas issued to non-U.S. workers. According to the IEEE, the government has issued more than 900,000 H-1B visas in new, renewal, and exempt categories since 2000, and many of these visas are for high-tech jobs.

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