The number of H-1B filings this year seems to be moving along at a much faster pace than in the past few years. Last year USCIS issued a press release on April 8, 2011 stating that 5,900 petitions had been filed in the first week of the filing period and it took until November 23, 2011 for all 65,000 H-1Bs to be used up. This year, USCIS issued a press release on April 9, 2012 stating that it had received 17,400 in the first week of the filing period. In other words, the number of H-1B petitions filed in the first week of 2011 compared to the first week of 2012 has almost tripled!
As of May 11, 2012, USCIS has counted 36,700 petitions against the 65,000 cap and 14,800 towards the 20,000 available Master’s Degree exemption. I’m not an economist but this appears to be a good sign that the economy is picking up and that unemployment generally is decreasing. The other nugget to take away from these numbers is that if you plan on filing an H-1B petition you should hurry up! At the current pace of filings, all 65,000 visas are likely to be used up way before November 2012.