H-1B CAP ONLY AT 17,400
The Fiscal Year 2012 (FY2012) H-1B cap season began on April 1, 2011. Since April 1, a mere 17,400 H-1B cap-subject Petitions have been receipted by USCIS as of June 24, 2011. This is much lower than in recent years and likely reflects the fact that while the US economy has improved in the recent months, it is not nearly as robust as it was in the middle part of the last decade.
To put this in perspective, in FY 2011, which began April 1, 2010, the USCIS has receipted about 30,000 H-1Bs through July 1, 2010. In FY 2009, there was about 45,000 H-1Bs receipted in by USCIS through July 1, 2009. For the prior three fiscal years (FY 2006-08), the H-1B cap was reached on the very first day of filing.
For three years the H-1B demand has decreased. This should put paid to the idea that H-1B workers are used to drive down US worker's wages. If H-1B workers were used to drive down wages, H-1B demand would remain consistent in a decreasing economy.