Obamacare Hasn’t Put Americans Out of Work

New federal jobs report doesn't support claim that the Affordable Care Act will decrease full-time employment

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One of the most-cited arguments made by opponents of Obamacare is that the law is bad for business. The Affordable Care Act requires that companies with more than 50 full-time workers provide health insurance and the law’s critics have faulted this provision for accelerating a trend of businesses scaling back hours and eliminating full-time jobs in favor of part-time positions. Writing in the Detroit News in September, Republican Rep. Mike Rogers said the health care law had caused an “unsettling trend of a permanent part-time workforce.” CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo said as recently as Sunday the health care law was transforming the U.S. into a “part-time employment country.”

The problem with this line of thought was that there wasn’t any good evidence to support it. And a new federal jobs report released Tuesday shows that Obamacare’s effect on employment is not what its critics have claimed.

After an uptick in part-time work earlier this year, which Republicans seized on to attack the law, the new jobs report shows that, for the second straight month, the number of part-time jobs reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics fell. In September, 691,000 full-time jobs were added to the economy while 594,000 part-time jobs went away. The average workweek remained about 35 hours. Plus, as Ben Casselman points out in the Wall Street Journal, part-time employees were actually working more hours in recent months, and because of differences in the way the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the ACA define “part-time,” there’s no evidence the law has had any impact on part-time employment over the past year. Part-time employment nationwide is higher than before the recession started in 2008, but that trend began before Obamacare became law in 2010. In addition, the health care law’s requirement that employers provide health insurance to full-time workers, doesn’t even begin until 2015.

Many economists have been saying as much for some time. Brad DeLong, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, said in August that while Obamacare may motivate firms to rely more on part-time workers at some point in the future, there’s no evidence this has happened yet. Of an Obamacare-related uptick in part-time employment, Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s told USA Today, also in August:

“I was expecting to see it. I was looking for it, and it’s not there,” says Zandi, whose firm manages ADP’s surveys of overall private-sector job creation. If the Affordable Care Act “were causing a drop, you would see meaningful slowing.”

Writing in Business Insider in July, investment banker Daniel Alpert noted that the growth of part-time jobs has happened in sectors where most work is already part-time, as opposed to rising in sectors where it has traditionally been full-time. Alpert concluded:

Anecdotal Obamacare-scare stories abound, but they seem pretty specious at best….There is no empirical evidence that hiring practices relate to concerns over benefits, and a heck of a lot of evidence that the people being hired for new jobs are earning less than workers already employed and that the jobs that a significant proportion of jobs being created are not full time because of the sectors they are in. If the Obamacare hiring meme were accurate, the tendency game the law would be to game the system by hiring people to work just under the 30 hour “full time” cut off under the act. But that does not appear to be the case either.

The September jobs report is further evidence to support the case that Obamacare has not caused a national shift toward part-time work. But there was no shortage of examples before the latest numbers, so don’t expect such claims to disappear.

16 comments
SpeakTruth
SpeakTruth

This article is a total lie.  I will not dignify it more than that.  The truth?  The Affordable Care Act mandates that employers provide insurance under certain conditions.  To avoid penalties, employers around the entire country are reducing work hours to make employees part-time - WITH NO HEALTH BENEFITS!  A FACT.  See article below.  So, what that means is that people who would have full time jobs with health benefits, now have part-time jobs (less income) and no benefits to boot.  So now they must use their less income (from part-time work) to PAY for health insurance or pay a tax penalty.  That is the reality.  

http://news.investors.com/politics-obamacare/110513-669013-obamacare-employer-mandate-a-list-of-cuts-to-work-hours-jobs.htm

EdYeary
EdYeary

My God when did Time magazine become such bald faced liars. You trying to emulate the liar in chief? Unbelievable. I know many many many people who have been laid off and had hours cut as a direct effect of this horrendous bill. 

dcikadlec
dcikadlec

My employer did exactly what they say is not the trend. He stopped offering health insurance to us, and cut the hours of all the full time employees. I personally know of four people that work for different companies that are going through the same thing. No insurance and less money to pay for it. The same people that were cheering when Obama won the election, are now the ones that are crying about losing their insurance and hours. What a great president he turned out to be!

SkookumMaguire
SkookumMaguire

I know the print media is strapped for cash, but how much does the administration have to pay for an article like this?

mybettygirlluv
mybettygirlluv

Could it be because it hasn't started. I don't know a single person that will get it. Im not and I wont pay the fine. Im going to claim all my dependants up front at the beginning of the year so I owe them at the end of the year and I'm going to pay them only the tax I owe them. They can't get their fine and it legal. I will not let this complete moron take the last dime from me and my family for third class insurance. It's the biggest tax ever put onto citizens of the United States and they are calling it insurance. When the price you pay now triples in a few years and it takes you two months to see a doctor see how you like then. The poor and the wortless are what your paying for. Millions will get it free on you dime. Not me im opting out.

emeraldseatown
emeraldseatown

Obamacare alters the incentives of hiring part time workers and scheduling their hours, just as changes to the minimum wage and other pay/benefits laws do.

With the threshold being 30 hours a week to incur the fixed cost of employer-provided health care, workers working exactly 30 hours a week are the most expensive per hour.  Workers working less than 30 hours are the cheapest per hour, and workers working 40 hours a week are the next cheapest.

Therefore, some companies are actually motivated to bump 32 hour workers up to 40, but they won't be hiring as many new workers in the future.

Ultimately, it will be a few years before clear trends emerge and the job market rebalances itself, and reading the tea leaves now is mostly guesswork.

DavidStrayer
DavidStrayer

The GOP and its minions manufacture all sorts of negatives about Obamacare.  The fact that it's barely begun and they've been crying "catastrophe" and "disaster" for a long time now is a perfect indicator as to how they function.

They have filled the air with fear and baseless "facts" to create a negative atmosphere.  Then they will focus on anything negative at all, blow it out of proportion and make it seem like doomsday has arrived.  In the process, they'll magnify any small changes in any statistic or indicator to "prove" that Obamacare is the disaster they predicted.

So far, actually, Obamacare has made it possible for many people who had had difficulties obtaining insurance due to preexisting conditions to be insured.  It has allowed children up to age 26 to be insured on their parents' policies as dependents.  It has slowed considerably the growth of health care expenses.  And it's barely begun.

Naturally, the GOP doomsayers ignore all this.  The uninsured aren't their concern. 

Importantly, what the Republicans haven't done is to indicate how they'd replace Obamacare.  They haven't said what they'd do to cover all Americans for health care.  

The reason is simple: they don't care about all Americans.  They're only interested in the worthy Americans, the 1% -- or, better, the 0.1% -- who make the most money.  They already have insurance.  The rest be damned.

svilen_dekov
svilen_dekov

If you don’t have mind how to make medical care, you can look what people do in the EU.

SpeakTruth
SpeakTruth

@dcikadlec Exactly on point.  Your employer is not unique.  Employers (including large institutions) across the entire country are reducing hours and putting all the employees they need to stay under the cap on part-time.

RevaMadison
RevaMadison

@mybettygirlluv In other words you intend to disobey a law that has been passed , signed and approved by the high court as well.  Lots of luck, because if so, we will see you in court, shortly., for tax evasion.  What makes you, a minority. think that you have the right to ignore a law put into effect, after the majority of the public voted on the platform which contained its idea, and after the Congress and Senate passed it?  You must have some real snoots for friends if you know no one who will sign up.  

SpeakTruth
SpeakTruth

@DavidStrayer Dave, Dave, Dave.  Please get your head out of the clouds and back into reality.  Maybe you haven't done enough looking around town, but you are clearly uninformed.  Here's the facts.  Will the ACA provide health benefits to individuals with pre-existing conditions when they couldn't otherwise get it?  Sure.  But at what cost?  The reality is this, as myself and others who have commented here have said, that countless employers around the entire country are cutting full time employees to part-time and not providing health benefits.  That's a cold, hard FACT.  Please read the below article to inform yourself.  It is not just about insurance.  It's about all the other "side effects" that the ACA results in.  It's great to take a pill for a headache but if it relieves your headache and gives you cancer, is it really something you want?  I think not.

http://news.investors.com/politics-obamacare/110513-669013-obamacare-employer-mandate-a-list-of-cuts-to-work-hours-jobs.htm

Marry
Marry

@aztecian @Marry That's it, personal attacks.  If you don't like our President or his narrative and the media's defense just attack.

dawson.fresh
dawson.fresh

You are in no way serious, correct?  Please read your initial comment and compare.

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