One of the favorite claims from the right is that Obamacare has been costing us full-time jobs due to the requirement that businesses with over 50 employees must make health insurance available to their full-time employees. Recent employment statistics have shown the claim to be totally false. What a surprise!
Both Business Insider and The Wall Street Journal recently reported that part-time work has actually declined while full-time jobs have increased. In September there were 594,000 fewer part-time jobs while full-time employment increased by 691,000.
The statistics used by detractors of the law tend to be misleading because of different definitions of what is and isn’t part time work. Under the ACA a part timer is one who works less than 30 hours while the Department of Labor considers those who work under 35 hours per week to be part-time.
The number of part-timers who work 30 to 34 hours per week has remained mostly flat at about 28% for the last three years, if Obamacare was causing the loss of hours one would expect these numbers to have fallen in that time frame. While the share of those working just under 30 hours has ticked up slightly the number working 25 or fewer hours per week has fallen which is an indication that rather than reducing hours for full-timers employers are increasing the hours for their part timers.
As Ben Casselman of the WSJ puts it,
“If the Labor Department used the same definition of “part-time” as the health law, its data would show no increase in part-time work over the past year.”
Casselman also points out that, “Other data tell a similar story. Average weekly hours—a measure that comes from companies, rather than workers themselves—have been flat for the past year, and are near their highest level since the recession. Restaurants, one of the sectors most often cited as likely to shift to part-timers, haven’t cut workers’ hours over the past year.”
He is correct when he says that there is no way to definitively say that once the employer mandate takes effect in 2015 they will not adjust their practices and cut hours for some employees to less than 30 per week, they may, but at this time there is no indication that they are doing so.
This is the claim being made by the detractors all along, they claim that the law has already cost jobs when there is no evidence to prove those allegations, in fact the statistics refute what they are saying.
h/t: Business Insider