Obamacare may be affecting US jobs, report says

A new white paper shows some ways the American workforce is already feeling the impact of the Affordable Care Act.

By Kim Peterson Sep 23, 2013 1:34PM
Big Business meeting © Chaos, Digital Vision, Getty ImagesObamacare hasn't even taken effect yet, but it's already changing the way businesses operate, according to a new study. And as a result, it's impacting the American workforce.

Ultimately, the Affordable Care Act will test the stability of the economy, according to a white paper out Monday from Express Employment Professionals, the largest privately held staffing company in the U.S.

Here are three trends emerging from Obamacare already, according to the white paper:

1. The traditional 40-hour work week is threatened. Some companies have said they will cut back on employee hours or positions altogether to avoid the additional financial burdens from the Affordable Care Act. The law requires health insurance for full-time employees, generally those working 30 hours a week or more, at large companies.

But it's hard to find real data to show this trend, however, particularly now that the employer mandate portion of Obamacare has been pushed back to 2015. The restaurant sector in particular was supposed to feel the impact, but so far the effect has been muted. "Other than some anecdotal stories, we have not noticed that trend in the restaurant industry to date," Scott DeFife, executive vice president for policy and government affairs for the National Restaurant Association, told The Cleveland Plain-Dealer.

Even the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C. was hesitant to connect fewer employee hours with Obamacare. "My read of the data is that while part-time employment has certainly gone up, you can't tie it to the health care law," a labor policy analyst at the foundation told the newspaper. "We have had a very weak recovery."

2. Smaller businesses aren't trying to become larger. The white paper cited an April 2013 Gallup poll of small businesses showing that 41% had frozen hiring in response to Obamacare and 19% had cut headcount.

The law will require companies with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance to full-time workers. A separate poll from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Harris Interactive showed that 71% of small business bosses said Obamacare would make them less likely to hire enough employees to move past that threshold.

3. Increased use of staffing companies. Numerous studies have shown that this economic recovery is characterized by a return to low-wage and temporary employment. Last year, 35% of U.S. companies used a staffing company, the white paper said.

But can you attribute the increased use of staffing to Obamacare? That's a tough leap to make, and even the white paper only suggests that the number of temporary employees is expected to increase under the Affordable Care Act. The paper cites as evidence the fact that only 2% of U.S. workers are employed by staffing agencies, while in the U.K. -- which has a legally mandated health care system -- temp agency workers make up some 4% of the labor force.

Still, it's unclear whether the larger percentage of temp workers in the U.K. is related to its health care structure. Germany has a national health care system, for example, yet only 1% of its labor force was comprised of temp workers in 2007. That percentage rose to nearly 3% in 2011 as the economy went through a downturn, according to The New York Times.

More on moneyNOW

Sep 23, 2013 2:11PM
In the last 5 years, we've doubled the number of people on food stamps, we've doubled the number of people depending on the gov for a disability check, and now we're about to double the number of people dependent on the gov for health insurance.  It will take generations to recover from the damage done during this administration, if ever.
Sep 23, 2013 1:56PM

The US can learn from other countries' mistakes, namely Europe.  So why don't we stay clear of running down the same destructive path?

I postulate that the last two presidential elections were aberrations -- miserable mistakes.  Decades to cure.

Sep 23, 2013 5:18PM
I hope the Republican's defund ObamaCare.  It's not that I don't want folks to have insurance, but the ObamaCare bill is an abomination.  You would have to be an idiot to want the government in charge of YOUR healthcare.  Look at the IRS, the NSA, the TSA, etc.  You want to give up your freedoms to these guys?
Sep 23, 2013 2:26PM

The sad thing is, the sad thing is the people going to lose their jobs are the ones this law was supposed to help.

Sep 23, 2013 2:45PM

Health Care for All !!!

Freaking delusional progressives have done it again.  Until the electorate stops fantasizing and starts taking responsibility for their own lives, we will continue down the black hole of economic and social destruction.

Sep 23, 2013 4:22PM


Am I the ONLY ONE who is disgusted with America has become?

Sep 23, 2013 5:28PM
Obama's master plan is to bring the US to it's knees.
Sep 23, 2013 6:42PM
Will the President and his family be getting health care through the exchanges? and if this is such a great law why does it now apply to ALL the people in this country?
Sep 23, 2013 4:57PM
May effect jobs, WRONG. Will effect jobs. I know of 4 company's that are going to change hourly employment to have no employee under General Manager above 28 hours a week. This is so they do not have to pay for health insurance. Also, 2 company's that are going to stop coverage for families of employees, just insure the employee. We are on our way to a nation or part time works with no benefits at all including sick time and vacation. Also billions of people without health insurance, that can not even afford Obamacare.
Sep 23, 2013 6:40PM

Sep 23, 2013 6:44PM

For those that weren't interested in working 40 hour weeks, Obamacare may be your silver bullet. BO is the worst president, but he will be successful in bringing America to its knees. When Atlas shrugs, Obama will move to Kenya.

Sep 23, 2013 7:39PM
1. The traditional 40-hour work week is threatened      OOPS
2. Smaller businesses aren't trying to become larger.   OOPS
3. Increased use of staffing companies.  HMMM   AN OPPORTUNITY ??????

Sep 24, 2013 7:55AM
No really? Everybody except stupid liberals already understood that would happen.
Sep 23, 2013 9:37PM

Home Depot is the latest to stop Health Care to its part time employees and the full time spouses, Millions will end up sign on with the exchanges GEE, I wonder where that money is coming from?

Sep 23, 2013 4:40PM
But proponents say the above is just not true, they wouldn't lie would they?
Sep 23, 2013 10:32PM
ok so you can't connect it to reduced hours. not yet. when it's fully implemented it will kill the economy and that's when you will see more than reduced hours, you will see reduced jobs.
Sep 23, 2013 2:51PM
Sep 23, 2013 3:30PM
Hey Sweendog --- WE, as individuals, solve these problems.  Those on the "We through Government" train are by definition endorsing bringing lethal force to make it happen for those who do not comply and resist.  The second amendment exists to deal with that trash.

Sep 25, 2013 6:11AM
Everyone damaged by this bill can look straight at the media for blame.

Every promise - lower premiums by $2,500, keep your insurance, keep your doctor, price tag of only $944 billion WHILE reducing the deficit - the media REFUSED to investigate and report exactly why all of it wouldn't hold water. To do the media's job we were called racists for the effort.

The worst is, the writing is on the wall that this whole ordeal is just to get to nationalized care. Isn't that called fraud?
Our media is the most dangerous threat facing America today.

Sep 25, 2013 3:39AM
Obummer care will bring insurance premiums down. Yeah, I will believe that when the moon turns blue. Another LIE by obummer. All you obummer supporters, I hope you are enjoying this.
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