After more than two years of anemic use of the H-1B visa, employers are suddenly applying in bigger numbers for the professional worker visa. As of today, more than 56,000 H-1Bs out of a quota of 65,000 have been used. The quota is likely to be exhausted some time in the next few weeks. That's two months ahead of last year. Despite what the protectionists say, H-1B usage reflects the market. When the economy is hot, H-1B numbers go fast. And when it's in the dumps, the numbers last a while. H-1B applications are also a leading indicator since employers often file months ahead of when they expect the visa and the candidate to be available. So one might see this news as reason for optimism.