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The economic heartbeat of America is measured through a number of indicators—from job growth to consumer confidence. During the debt limit crisis of 2011, our nation’s EKG started to falter, triggering a drop in employment, confidence, manufacturing, and markets. In this memo, we provide a snapshot of how six areas of the economy responded to what was merely a close call on default in 2011.

Congress must help more foreign-born STEM graduates stay in US

By Lanae Erickson Hatalsky and Sarah Trumble

No one says that the U.S. doesn’t produce enough lawyers. Today, almost 150,000 students are attending U.S. law schools. Almost all of them are Americans, and barely more than half will find jobs in their field here. Their supply exceeds our economy’s current demand. But the exact opposite is true for students of science, math, engineering, and technology (STEM).

This year, 40,000 computer science graduates will find 120,000 new and unfilled jobs waiting for them. Worse, many of those students are foreign born and barred by our current immigration policy from using their talents to meet this demand to help grow the U.S. economy. Consider that by 2009, according to the National Science Foundation, a full half of those graduating with a doctorate in computer science were foreign-born students here on a temporary visa. Although we clearly have an economic need for these graduates, and they’ve been educated here in the United States, we are currently sending these inventors and job creators home to compete with us in the global marketplace.

If companies can’t find qualified candidates to fill their jobs, they may be forced to move positions overseas. Luckily, there is an easy solution to this problem: Congress should pass a bill to allow highly-skilled immigrants studying science, technology, engineering, or math at an American university to stay here and earn green cards after graduation.

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4 Senators Propose Easing Visa Limits for Highly Skilled

By JONATHAN WEISMAN

A bipartisan group of four senators proposed on Tuesday easing visa limits for highly skilled immigrants and foreign students, a move that challenges Congressional leaders on their fixed positions on the issue of immigration during an election year.

Two Democrats, Senators Mark Warner of Virginia and Chris Coons of Delaware, and two Republicans, Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Jerry Moran of Kansas, introduced the legislation, which is a break for both parties. Democrats have traditionally held highly skilled worker visas as a bargaining chip for measures on lower-skilled immigrants that are far less politically popular. Many Republicans have opposed any expansion of visas.

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reuters:

The number of Americans claiming new jobless benefits fell back to a four-year low last week and manufacturing in the Northeast held up in March, providing more signs the economy was firmly on a self-sustaining growth path.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 351,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. That took claims back to a four-year low reached in February.
Separately, the New York Federal Reserve said its Empire State general business conditions index rose to 20.21 - highest level since June 2010 - from 19.53 in February.
“This suggests that the recovery is firmly on track,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Read more: Jobless claims back at four-year lows

reuters:

The number of Americans claiming new jobless benefits fell back to a four-year low last week and manufacturing in the Northeast held up in March, providing more signs the economy was firmly on a self-sustaining growth path.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 351,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. That took claims back to a four-year low reached in February.

Separately, the New York Federal Reserve said its Empire State general business conditions index rose to 20.21 - highest level since June 2010 - from 19.53 in February.

“This suggests that the recovery is firmly on track,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Read more: Jobless claims back at four-year lows