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Just How Much Has Obamacare Hurt Employment?


Evidence that Obamacare is leading companies to restrict work hours for its employees has so far been mostly anecdotal, but Jed Graham dives into some statistics over at Investor’s Business Daily. He finds large, significant drops in average workweeks corresponding with the advent of Obamacare (i.e. from full time to below the 30 hour limit at which the employer mandate kicks in) He looks at four industries in particular—bakeries, general stories, home centers, and elder services— and sees a constant pattern across them. Read the whole thing to see the numbers and his methodology.

Correlation, of course, does not prove causation, but the piece argues that given the scope of the change and the (post-recession) circumstances surrounding it, it’s rational to infer a causal role for the ACA:

This historic and simultaneous shift in hours worked across multiple industry groups has occurred just as a sizable incentive for reducing hours was set to take effect, and amid a multitude of reports that companies are altering their employment practices to dodge ObamaCare fines. In other words, the industry data, the incentives and the anecdotes match up pretty perfectly.

Still, this is not a slam-dunk case. It is interesting, however, as the best attempt we’ve seen yet to quantify the effect of Obamacare on employment. We need much more data like this—instead of the anecdotes and counter-anecdotes that seem to dominate the conversation— before we can begin to get a comprehensive picture of how Obamacare is functioning.

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  • Alexander Scipio

    Strategic question: once Obama has reduced significant numbers of workers to below 30 hours, will Democrats use the financial catastrophe they have created for low-skill workers as an impetus to increase the Minimum Wage, & will Congress be able to resist, thereby FURTHER damaging the economy — and creating MORE permanent underclass Democrat voters?

    It seems way past the time to begin realizing the “unintended” consequences… Aren’t.

    • Corlyss

      Sure they will. I wouldn’t put it passed them to have discovered this as an added bonus of ACA.

    • bpuharic

      Last year 26,000 people died due to lack of access to health insurance

      Guess that’s not a catastrophe though. They weren’t rich. THey were moochers

      Dead moochers

  • Anthony

    “…before we can begin to get a comprehensive picture of how Obamacare is functioning.”
    ACA cited as refrenced above regarding lower work numbers and/or man hours per employee provides convenient attribution and combined with statistical support lends measurable metrics; yet, ACA is intimately connected with a much broader drama (culture, domestic politics, public opinion, resource distribution, etc.). Quick Take brings to mind general innate tendency to chase transient solutions rather than roots of health/economic problems.

  • Bruce

    With all due respect, sometimes the smartest blogs are too smart and measured. We don’t need studies and data. Yes, it is a slam dunk case. In this situation, common sense tells us all we need to know. The guy that owns 20 Subway shops that is reducing 50 workers to part-time will be repeated over and over and over. I don’t believe you need a study to know that, Dr. Mead.

    • bpuharic

      Aw, the poor millionaire. Can’t watch his workers die and just replace them any more


  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    85% of all new jobs created this year, are part time jobs of less than 30 hours. Full time work is being destroyed by Obamacare, and we are all much poorer for it.

    • bpuharic

      8 million jobs and 19 trillion in equity was destroyed by the Wall Street blowtorch in 2007. Obamacare had zip to do with it

  • Corlyss

    For donkey’s years, before the GWBush and Obama squandered the reasonably good economy Clinton* left us, Americans lectured Europeans that they needed to be more productive, including increasing their work weeks from under 40 hrs., like it is in France and elsewhere. Let’s remember that in Europe, structural unemployment is their tool of choice for fighting inflation they believe would result form full or almost full employment. Now we’re in the same leaky boat. I think massive unemployment serves another purpose here, i.e., to get as many people on welfare as possible to make them beholden to the state and thus permanent Democratic voters, but the economies are beginning to look dishearteningly alike: low-growth to no-growth. In our case, it also trends to the destruction of the storied American independence and can-do spirit.

    • bpuharic

      What’s led to the destruction is 30 years of zero growth of middle class incomes along with the fact we have the lowest social mobility of any western country.

      The right ficdtionalizes the US but reality has a liberal tinge

  • bpuharic

    Last year 26,000 people died due to lack of health insurance in the US. They’re unemployed, too, I guess.

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