U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting petitions for H-1B visas on April 1 for fiscal year 2012, but there has not been the usual flood of petitions.
According to the Workforce Management article,"Demand for H-1B Visas Off to Slower Start," only 5,900 petitions that fall under the general H-1B visa cap of 65,000 had been filed as of April 8. And only 4,500 had been received for those visas that apply to the 20,000 cap for workers with a master's degree or higher.
This is actually the third year in a row H-1B petitions have decreased, according to Washington Technology. Prior to FY 2009, the caps were reached within days, even hours, forcing the USCIS to hold a lottery to determine which visas would be granted. The demand started decreasing in 2009 and 2010 due to the recession, and apparently, the recovery hasn't been strong enough to encourage a rebound in H-1B visa petitions.