Obamacare isn't leading to job cuts

While part-time work has surged during the recovery, it's actually trending down as the health care overhaul gets closer.

By Aimee Picchi Aug 9, 2013 12:55PM

U.S. President Barack Obama holds a news conference from the White House /Larry Downing/Reuters The economic recovery has created a raft of part-time jobs since 2008. What's to blame? Well, cross Obamacare off the list of culprits. 

Part-time workers now represent 19% of total employment, which is actually below the post-recession peak of 20%, Politico notes. In fact, part-time workers are at the same level as a year ago, a number that would likely be inching up as the Affordable Care Act goes into effect in 2014.

To be sure, employers ranging from Regal Entertainment Group (RGC) to Wendy's (WEN) have said they plan to cut workers' hours. That's because the ACA requires employers with more than 50 workers to buy health insurance for staff putting in more than 30 hours per week. 

The analysis on Politico by Jared Bernstein and Paul Van de Water at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities of part-time workers supports a survey from earlier this year that found most businesses don't plan to shift from full-time to part-time workers as a way to avoid the law.

"While many (including myself) have feared that the employer penalty could lead to negative consequences in terms of full-time hiring, that just doesn't appear to be happening," writes Aaron Carroll at The Incidental Economist

That's not to say that some companies aren't cutting workers' hours in response to Obamacare. But the data suggests that those employers are the exception, rather than the rule. 

Meanwhile, involuntary part-time workers -- those who would prefer full-time work but can't find it -- have declined by one percentage point from 2012, Politico notes. If Obamacare were leading to cuts in workers' hours, that number would likely be trending up as 2014 approaches. 

Still, the fact remains that part-time work is more abundant than it was pre-2008. Much of the job creation in the economic recovery has come from part-time and low-paying jobs, but the biggest burst in part-time jobs came in the 2008 and 2009, meaning Obamacare likely isn't the villain in this story.

The reason may be simply that companies don't need as much labor as they did when the economy was stronger, The New York Times notes. 

Obamacare is actually leading to job growth in at least two industries: call centers and law firms. Legal firms are boosting staff to help clients understand the ACA, while call centers are going on hiring binges, tapping as many as 9,000 new employees, to help explain the law to consumers. 

That raises the question of whether Obamacare might end up creating more jobs for the economy than losses. 

Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi. 

More on moneyNOW

Aug 9, 2013 2:17PM
Distorting the facts does not make them true no matter how much you idiot liberals try.
Aug 9, 2013 1:27PM
Exactly what we need to get this economy going again... more crappy customer service centers and lawyers.  Obama is a genius!!
Aug 9, 2013 2:24PM
This writer is an idiot or thinks we are if she thinks anyone will believe this nonsense.
Aug 9, 2013 3:35PM

This analysis is not accurate.

Part-time work would have been a lot lower without Obama's statist policies including ObamaCare.

Unemployment should have been a lot lower; i.e. his policies have kept part-timers higher than otherwise and full-time jobs lower.


To believe that ObamaCare can add net jobs is ridiculous.

Statistics are being misused.

Aug 9, 2013 5:35PM

Aimee Pichi DOESN'T UNDERSTAND that the country is not prosperous simply if people have jobs.  During Mao-era China, even people who were not-so-able-bodied had jobs.  The standard of living was extremely low.


While a comfortable working environment is desirable, the foundation of a good economy is that the work produces goods that other people want to buy. 


Aimee Pichi revels in all the people who are needed to explain the Affordable Care Act to ordinary Americans.  These are BUREAUCRATIC JOBS that should not be created because paying for all these counselors prevents ordinary Americans from affording other things they really want.

Aug 10, 2013 12:36AM
right, it's creating more government jobs to get it implemented. government jobs that create no wealth and sucks  money away from the private sector. a cucumber has more economic sav vy than these libs.
Aug 9, 2013 2:43PM
I don't think the employers cutting hours in response are the exception since the full impact won't hit until next year. The idea that part time workers (say 33 hours a week) now have to go find a second part time job to equal that income they are losing is the biggest problem. We are not talking no name small businesses here, we are talking companies like the YMCA who have always relied on part timers but are now reducing even those hours. We need healthcare that doesn't penalize those least able to afford it!
Aug 9, 2013 2:45PM
Aug 10, 2013 7:22AM
I love it when some punk college boy comes up and says Obamacare isn't causing job cuts.  Well son, tell it to the people who are being cut even still because of obamacare.  The cuts are from full time to part time with limited hours or just totally cut.  On the working class end (you know the ones who pay taxes to support this ignorance) we are bright enough to see the truth even thru your misconception!
Aug 9, 2013 10:38PM
I'm Barrack Obama and I approved this article.  Since that aspect of the bill hasn't taken affect yet, it's obvious it hasn't caused lost jobs.  In fact, implementation of parts of the bill were delayed until 2015 instead of 2014.  This was done so that Democrats who voted for it wouldn't have to weather fallout in the 2014 mid-term elections as a result of negative effects of the bill.  One would think that if the effects of the bill are as positive as Obama insists they will be, it would be a plus for the Democrats in the 2014 elections.
Aug 9, 2013 4:45PM
Liberals just don't see how government intrusion into peoples lives is a drag on the economy. Look at it this way, for all you couch sitters and Twinkie eaters. Say you want to put up a flag pole in your yard,(to fly your don't tread on me flag). You will have to check with your homeowners assoc,it is your house ?, pay for a permit , have the hole inspected to make sure it meets gov code. install the pole get it inspected again to make sure it is secured per code ,with each inspection costing time and money. It is so counter productive.  Careful because this overreaching gov. may decide to go after twinkies. With Obummer care you might have to show your BMI card to be able to buy them.That's body mass index.    They will never go as far as banning a product,they will say it's for your own good you shouldn't eat them and the whole time they will tax it more and make money off of it.  Can you say cigarettes.  Why does any freedom loving american think that the group in Washington knows what is best for them.
Aug 10, 2013 3:14AM

Tell that to millions of union members that initially supported Obama and his failed ACA. They're furious about full time jobs to be reduced to part time with no benefits because of the high cost to employers at $2000 per employee.


The same for many other businesses McDonald's and others whether unionized or not which is why Obama delayed the implementing of it until after the elections next year and for obvious reasons.


The problem is the delay will raise cost even higher to make up for funding lost this year and 2014. There's no way to get around the fact that this monstrous financial  healthcare act should never have passed.


It's so bad that even Congress and their staff complained and were granted a waiver by Obama to offset the cost with taxpayer subsidy. You won't hear much about it  from Obama or Congress which isn't surprising because it was illegal and against the terms of the ACA.

Aug 9, 2013 5:50PM

Aimee Pichi is looking at government statistics with little idea of what they mean.  First of all, we should always question the credibility of not only the particular statistic, but also the definition of the statistical category.  Consider how the Consumer Price Index and the Gross Domestic Product are used to mislead us.


Many full time jobs do not lend themselves to being replaced by multiple part-time jobs.  The skill level has to be low in order for the employer to replace many full time workers with a larger number of part timers.  It is useless for Pichi to tell us that only a minority of full time jobs are giving way to part time jobs.  It is already too much full time to part time replacement!  We need productive full time jobs, and not jobs in bureaucracy like the ones explaining the Affordable Care Act!


Today, the Obama Administration changed the 50-employee rule such that the combined hours of part time employees shall be added up to be counted as equivalent full-time employees.  Restaurants and other such businesses are playing a cat-and-mouse game with the government!  Because of this RETORT to business owners trying to skirt the ACA, there shall be FEWER PART TIME JOBS and FEWER FULL TIME JOBS, too, in the near future.

Aug 9, 2013 8:44PM

He's been in office for what --- 5 yrs -- and everybody is STILL trying to blame somebody else for his mess. Give it up. We know what's going on even if they think we don't and it should be a national holiday  when he finally moves out of the White House.


Aug 9, 2013 2:40PM
Wouldn't we call those jobs (call center, lawyers) overhead? Wasn't one of the PPACA stated goals to reduce overhead? Look at the (part time) trend line when the PPACA actually goes into effect. Many of us are trying to figure this law out, my prediction, they will delay the personal mandate. The exchanges just are not ready. 
Aug 10, 2013 9:26AM

I think we would be best to shut down the government.   Defund Obamacare.  If the government shuts down completely for say 3-4 months, we might be able to balance the budget too!


So shut it down!  It will improve our credit rating, and killing off Obamacare is the best economic medicine the USA could ask for!  

Aug 9, 2013 9:42PM
Obamacare will not be the law of the land if a republican president and the republican supreme court have their way.
Aug 9, 2013 5:48PM

Why was I soooo stupid to think that MSN- - ''MONEY'' had a ''ring of capitalism- - - when in fact they- - - appear to be NOTHING - - BUT and extension of- - the ''little cherub'' - - - Sir Jay Carney and the POTUS- - ''BS'' squad! ! ! Remember yesterday- -- - ''THIS COLUMN'' and its accusation that  somehow the ''RICH were nothing but ''evil'' people with $ $ $  were because ''they'' were not investing in this ''crummy'' economy- - but were hording their $ $ $ as something akin to a ''Dicken's Novel''! And NOW this- - -- - Seriously- - - did you ''guys / gals'' come straight from the NYT'S? ? ? ? ? ? ? Fair and Balanced- - - - ''BS''! ! !

Aug 9, 2013 5:24PM
The reality, which is massively underreported, is that there are far more people who are under employed because of Obamacare's pending penalties.  The numbers which are used to tout jobs growth are cooked, in that they now rely heavily on the part time market. Part time does not supply a household with the basics.  The ongoing Democrat blather about increasing the minimum wage to a living wage, mixed with the obvious fact that Living Wage jobs are simply vaporizing by the thousands every day, is an apparent connundrum. How can they actually care about you making a living, but enforce policies which outright DESTROY JOBS???  Well, they cannot... They are killing the USA. Welcome to Fundamental Transformation.
Aug 9, 2013 5:16PM
 Politico  and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities are Left Wing organizations, generally speaking.  They support Obama as much as they possibly can.  Heck, Robert Greenstein, the founder and executive director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities worked for Carter and Clinton. It is unlikely that he has a non-partisan bone in his body.
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